Russian President Vladimir Putin has been informed about a fire at a military site in Moscow-annexed Crimea that forced authorities to evacuate thousands of civilians on Wednesday, the Kremlin said.
“Of course, this is reported to the president. (Crimea’s head Sergei) Aksyonov reacted very quickly. We know that there was a fire there,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.
News of the blaze came two days after Ukraine used waterborne drones to attack the Kerch bridge, a key military supply artery from mainland Russia to annexed Crimea.
Authorities have not specified the cause of the blaze at the military site, but some Russian media reported that detonations were heard in the area and footage showed columns of black smoke in the sky.
“Emergency measures are being taken. The situation is being clarified,” Peskov added.
Authorities ordered the evacuation of over 2,000 residents from areas near the military field, in the Kirovsky district.
A section of the Tavrida highway — connecting the eastern Crimean port of Kerch to the port of Sevastopol on the peninsula’s Black Sea coast — was closed due to the fire.
Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 in a move not recognised by the international community.
The peninsula has been regularly hit by strikes and attacks targeting Russian-installed officials over recent months that Moscow has blamed on Kyiv.