DONETSK, August 18 (RIA Novosti) – A large unventilated coal mine filled with extremely explosive methane gas was targeted overnight in eastern Ukraine for a rocket attack by pro-Kiev artillery troops, a privately-owned energy-production operator said.
“The mine is explosion-prone. With no ventilation, concentration of methane can rise triggering an explosion,” the Donbas Fuel-Energy Company (DTEK) warned in a statement.
All mining operations at the targeted Komsomolets Donbasu coal mine had been stalled on August 1 following clashes in the eastern Ukrainian region, DTEK said. The electricity supply to the mine was cut as a result.
DTEK also said there had been a group of seven miners overseeing dewatering and ventilation operations underground, after the blackout caused automatic ventilation to stop. All workers had been brought to the surface.
Since mid-April, Kiev has been conducting a military operation against the southeastern regions of Ukraine that had refused to recognize the legitimacy of the new government after February coup.