MP Pashynsky not ruling out sabotage as cause of ammo depot fire near Ichnia
Verkhovna Rada National Security and Defense Committee head Serhiy Pashynsky has said he does not rule out sabotage as the reason for explosions at the military ammunition storage facility in Ichnia district, Chernihiv region.
"I don't rule this out. But there wouldn't have been any sabotage if the ammunition was stored in concrete warehouses," Pashynsky told journalists in Kyiv on Tuesday.
Pashynsky said the reason for the explosions was probably sabotage.
"The issue is, though, that we should have long ago minimized the possibility of this happening. We fight with Russia every day. Why are our soldiers dying on the frontlines? Why do we hold our defensive positions when we can't even get our act together in the rear?" Pashynsky said, adding that there was too much ammunition at the facility.
"In Ichnia, I hope, the General Staff will tell the truth – 50 tonnes. That's 10-15 echelons of ammunition. It is impermissible to keep so much in one place," he said, noting that the distance from the forest to the barbed wire guarding the ammunition warehouses is only 20 meters.
Pashynsky said members of his committee support his position and don't blame workers at the ammunition depot for the accident.
"Ammunition explodes because the necessary engineering equipment is lacking. It explodes because thousands of tonnes of ammunition are stored under the open sky. These ammunition warehouses are simply not equipped," Pashynsky said.
The deputy said his committee made recommendations after the explosions ammunition arsenals last year.
"We categorically demanded the allocation of funds for concrete storage ... We made the appropriate changes to legislation ... And we offered to start the program of construction of concrete storage," he said.
The Defense Ministry said it needs an additional UAH 13.1 billion for 2018, of which UAH 152.5 million would be for the program "Disposal of ammunition, liquid propellant rocket fuel, weapons, military equipment and other military equipment, ensuring survivability and explosion and fire safety arsenals, bases and warehouses of Ukraine's Armed Forces."
As earlier reported, information about explosions at the sixth arsenal of Ukraine's Defense Ministry was received at 03:30 on Tuesday morning.
More than 12,000 people have been evacuated and airspace within a 30 kilometer radius has been closed. Railway and road traffic near the ammunition depot was blocked. No casualties have been reported.