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Blast at Ammunitions Depot in Chernihiv, Ukraine Prompts Mass Evacuation

© REUTERS / State Emergency Service of UkraineSmoke rises over a warehouse storing tank ammunition at a military base in the town of Balaklia (Balakleya), Kharkiv region, Ukraine
Smoke rises over a warehouse storing tank ammunition at a military base in the town of Balaklia (Balakleya), Kharkiv region, Ukraine - Sputnik International
According to the statement of the Ukrainian Defense Ministry, restrictive measures have been introduced across the entire Chernihiv region and along Russian border after the major blast at the military warehouse.

A major explosion hit a military warehouse 176 km (109 miles) east of the Ukrainian capital city of Kiev early on Tuesday morning, Reuters reported, citing Ukrainian Defense Ministry. According to the local media reports, at around 3:30 am local time a detonation occurred in the large ammunitions depot near the villages of Druzhba and Avgustovka.

The Ukrainian law enforcement agencies are looking into several possible causes of the fire that broke out at a military warehouse in Ukraine's Chernihiv region, as the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) is not ruling out sabotage, the SBU press service said in a press release.

"Law enforcement officers are looking into several versions, in particular, the Security Service of Ukraine is considering sabotage among possible causes," the press release read.

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The Ukrainian military has reportedly launched a mass evacuation of the surrounding area and the head of Ukraine's armed forces has gone to the site of the incident. 

The scale of the explosion is being specified, while all relevant services and local authorities were promptly notified, according to the ministry. "People are being evacuated. Emergency response headquarters has been deployed," the statement said.

According to the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, the airspace has been closed within 20 km (12 miles) radius from the military warehouse. Some 10,000 local residents have been reportedly evacuated. According to local authorities, there has been no information on casualties.

Ukrainian Military Prosecutor's Office Launches Probe Into Chernihiv Munitions Depot Blast

The Ukrainian military prosecution has launched a criminal investigation into a powerful explosion at a military warehouse in the Ukrainian Chernihiv region, the press service of the Military Prosecutor's Office of the Central Region said in a statement.

"The Military Prosecutor's Office of the Central Region of Ukraine has launched criminal proceedings into the exposition, under the third section of Article 425 [of the Ukrainian Criminal code, neglect of duty in military service causing grave consequences and committed in a special period, except for the martial law state]," the statement read.

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Under the Ukrainian legislation, such a crime is punishable by imprisonment of up to seven years.

A group of military prosecutors is currently working at the site. The Ukrainian Security Service's prosecution department has been tasked with carrying out the pre-trial proceedings, while the military prosecution of the Chernihiv military district will be in charge of the procedural management.

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