Europe

Huge blasts as Russian arms depot in Siberia explodes

Night time explosions Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Explosions were continuing after dark

At least eight people were injured after a depot containing tens of thousands of artillery shells exploded in Russia.

Thousands of people were forced to evacuate their homes near the town of Achinsk in Siberia.

Three of the injured were treated in hospital. One person was reported to be missing following the blasts.

Witnesses posted videos of balls of flame and black smoke, starting during the day and continuing after dark.

A state of emergency was declared in the area, west of the city of Krasnoyarsk.

Children at a nearby summer camp were taken to safety while soldiers at the base took refuge in bomb shelters.

About 3,000 people were moved, but Achinsk town officials told Tass news agency that 11,000 more residents were being prepared for evacuation.

The cause of the blast was not immediately clear.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Residents of the town of Achinsk are among those being evacuated

Krasnoyarsk region is one of those affected by huge wildfires that engulfed parts of Siberia in recent weeks, due to unusually hot weather and strong winds.

The worst of the fires, however, were many miles away to the northeast.

The Achinsk ammunition store is one of the oldest in the Russian armed forces' ordnance network and was due to be dismantled by 2022, Tass quoted the defence ministry as saying.

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