November 23, 2009 / 4:14 PM / 10 years ago

Russia says new blast at arms depot kills 8

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Eight soldiers were killed and two injured Monday when munitions exploded at a Russian navy arms depot, 10 days after a series of blasts ripped through the same complex, the Defense Ministry said.

The accident happened at Arsenal Number 31 in the central Russian city of Ulyanovsk, where an explosion earlier this month set of a number of munitions, lighting up the sky for several hours and forcing the evacuation of 3,000 people.

“Eight people were killed and two injured while loading munitions for decommissioning,” a Defense Ministry spokesman said of Monday’s incident.

The blast destroyed a truck that was being loaded with munitions that were scattered during the earlier mishap, Interfax news agency reported.

Unlike the previous incident, witnesses said the detonations could not be heard in the center of Ulyanovsk, a city of 635,000 people about 800 km (500 miles) southeast of Moscow.

On November 13 the chain of explosions blew out the windows of residential buildings up to 7 km (4 miles) away.

Russia’s poorly trained and badly paid military has suffered frequent accidents with aging equipment in recent years. Western military attaches say safety standards are low.

Reporting by Ludmila Danilova, Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Conor Humphries, editing by Jon Boyle

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