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Russia says ammunition detonated at Crimea base, one dead

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Ammunition detonated at an airfield in Moscow-annexed Crimea on Tuesday, killing one person and wounding several more, Russian officials said.

The blasts at the Saki airfield took place on the 167th day of Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.

“Several aviation munitions detonated” near the settlement of Novofyodorovka, the defence ministry said in a statement carried by Russian news agencies.

The defence ministry said it was looking to establish the reason for the explosions but indicated that the airfield was not targeted in an attack.

Officials initially said that no one had been hurt but the region’s head Sergei Aksyonov later said that one person had died as a result of the blasts.

Earlier Tuesday, the region’s top health official said that five people including a child had been injured.

Konstantin Skorupsky said one of the injured was being operated on, while the rest had received medical aid before returning home.

Thirty people from Novofyodorovka had been evacuated.

According to dramatic footage on social media, holidaymakers left the local beach in panic as large plumes of black smoke billowed into the blue sky. Cars rushed to leave Novofyodorovka, as ambulances were sent to the scene.

Crimea borders the southern Ukrainian region of Kherson — now controlled by Moscow. The southeastern region of Zaporizhzhia — partially occupied by the Russian army — is also nearby.

In an earlier video statement, Aksyonov, speaking from the scene, said the affected area had been cordoned off.

“All necessary measures have been tightened to ensure the safety of infrastructure facilities and the population,” he said.

Crimea, which was annexed by Moscow from Ukraine in 2014, is a popular tourist destination.


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Agence France-Presse (AFP) is a French international news agency headquartered in Paris, France. Founded in 1835 as Havas, it is the world's oldest news agency.

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