Ukraine Copes with Aftermath of Ammo Depot Explosion; SBU Investigates

September 27, 2017
Photo of fire at Kalinovka Ammunition Depot by Andrew Kravchenko

Ukraine Day 1318: LIVE UPDATES BELOW. No casualties were reported. Authorities are dealing with the aftermath of the fire at the Kalinovka Ammunition Depot in which at least two people were injured.

Yesterday’s coverage of the Ukraine conflict can be found here.

An Invasion By Any Other Name: The Kremlin’s Dirty War in Ukraine


Ukraine Copes with Aftermath of Ammo Depot Explosion; SBU Investigates

A moose on the grounds of the Kalinovka Ammunition Depot in June 2017. Photo by 

Russia-backed forces made 7 attacks in the last day, but there were no Ukrainian casualties. Militants fired from a tank on Avdeyevka and fired 82-mm and 120-mm mortars as well. They also attacked the Avdeyevka industrial zone with grenade-launchers and fired 120-mm mortars at ATO positions in Peski. Small arms were used to attack Kamenka.

On the Maritime line, 82-mm mortars were fired on the outskirts of Talakovka and grenade-launchers near Gnuotov. Near Maryinka, heavy machine guns were used.

It was quiet on the Lugansk line.

Kalinovka Ammunition Depot Fire

The Interior Ministry published a video of the burning ammunition depot in Kalinovka which exploded yesterday, September 26.

The Military Prosecutor’s Office is looking at “four main hypotheses” for the cause of the explosion, but has not yet announced them. It is likely they range from a Russia-backed attack to negligence in the maintenance of the explosives. published a detailed report about what was known about the fire and the aftermath. Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes, transportation has been halted and the air space closed over the depot. At least two people have been injured.

President Petro Poroshenko made a statement: “We must learn to protect our strategic facilities better from saboteurs.”

The National Security and Defense Council said some people could return home.

The level of toxic substances in the air was reduced, authorities said.

Journalist Yuriy Butusov, who frequently writes about the war in the Donbass, published a photo taken in June of this year of a moose on the grounds of the Kalinovka ammunition depot.

“”As long as the safety of the arsenals is tested by moose and not leaders, we shouldn’t hope for a systematic approach,” he quipped (translation by The Interpreter).

Military analyst Oleg Starikov said that if there were not reforms in the Ukrainian Security Service (SBU) in the next six months, disasters like the Kalinovka fire would recur. He said the SBU “remains of the Soviet type” and is not capable currently of defending Ukraine from Russian sabotage.

In other news:

The Ukrainian military says 26% of soldiers suffer from post-traumatic stress syndrome.

Crimean Tatar leader Ilmi Umerov, deputy head of the Mejlis or Crimean Tatar Assembly, said his lawyer was preparing appeals to international courts.

Russian occupation forces in Crimea, the historic homeland of the Crimean Tatars, sentenced Umerov to 2 years of penal colony on charges of “threatening the territorial integrity of the Russian Federation”.

The self-proclaimed “Donetsk People’s Republic” has opened an office in the French city of Marseille. The SBU press service said the “fake representation” was organized by “marginal French politicians and experts financed by the Kremlin.”

Popular Front deputy Yuriy Bereza says the burning of his family’s home and his car recently could have been organized by another MP, Aleksandr Vilkul of the Opposition Bloc, or “the FSB for Ilovaisk.”

“I’m 90% certain this is the work of Vilkul and 10% the work of Chechens or the FSB”. He thought it was in revenge for his critical coverage of the Battle of Ilovaisk. It is the 8th attempt on his life in three years, he added.

No one was at home at the time the attempt was made to set it on fire, and later a man apprehended on the scene was hospitalized with skull trauma. This led to speculation that Bereza himself had beaten him, which he denies.

— Catherine A. Fitzpatrick 

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