"The criminal case was initiated under part 3 of article 425 (neglectful attitude to military duty during a special period, other than the martial law- Ed.) of the Criminal Code of Ukraine. The Military Prosecutor's Office in charge of the Kharkiv garrison exercises procedural control [over the investigation]," Deputy Military Prosecutor of the Kharkiv garrison Vladyslav Zubko told Interfax-Ukraine late on Thursday, Censor.NET reports.
The fire that broke out at the former 65th Arsenal outside Balakliia at 1:35 p.m. on May 3 was reportedly caused by burning dry grass that was set ablaze as the unexploded ordnance scattered in last year's fire was being disposed of. No security evacuation was announced in the city. The police said the fire caused no casualties.
Head of the Balakliia District Council, Stepan Maselskyi, says the explosions of ordnance triggered by the fire have not impacted the area beyond the arsenal.
Firefighting squads of the Armed Forces of Ukraine and the State Emergency Service managed to contain the main seats of fire at the arms depot significantly reduce the fire area.
As reported, a fire broke out at the former 65th ammunition depot outside Balakliia at 1:35 p.m. on May 3. The fire was caused by the dry grass that was set ablaze as the unexploded ordnance scattered in last year's fire was being disposed of. Two armored fire-fighting vehicles and an obstacle-clearing vehicle were engaged in fire-fighting operation. The EOD experts involved in disposal of unexploded ordnance at the ammunition depot were evacuated.
On March 23, 2017, an emergency arose at the military ammunition depot of the Defense Ministry in Ukraine's eastern town of Balakliia. Several storage areas of rocket and cannon artillery ordnance (tank and artillery missiles of 125 mm and 152 mm caliber) caught fire, with massive explosions of ordnance following. More than 16,000 Balakliia residents were evacuated.
Chief Military Prosecutor Anatolii Matios said the emergency in Balakliia was an act of sabotage.
Later, a video of explosions at the ammunition depot was published online.
According to Defense Minister Poltorak, the incident in Balakliia caused no serious damage to the country's defense capability.