Kiev: Around 10,000 people were evacuated after a fire and explosions hit a Defence Ministry ammunition depot 176 kms east of the Ukrainian capital Kiev early on Tuesday morning, officials said. There was no mention of any casualties and it was also not clear if the accident was an accident or an attempt at sabotage. Reports said the airspace has been closed and road and rail transport suspended in a 20-km radius. Hundreds of people have been deployed to the site, a statement by the emergency services said, and the head of Ukraine’s armed forces has gone there.

There have been several large fires at ammunition and weapons depots lately, hitting Ukraine’s military which has been fighting Russian-backed separatists since 2014. “About 10,000 people were evacuated,” the statement by the emergency services said. “From 04:22 am (0122 GMT) the airspace within a radius of 20 km has been closed. The movement of rail and road transport is suspended.” Last year too, explosions at a military depot in the Vynnytsya region had forced the evacuation of 24,000 people.

Earlier this year, 41 children were among the 64 people killed in a fire that ripped through a shopping mall in the Siberian city of Kemerovo. “There are names of 41 children in the list of those who died,” RIA Novosti quoted a source in the regional emergencies services as saying.