MOSCOW (Reuters) - A series of blasts rocked an arms depot at a Russian military base in Siberia on Monday, injuring eight people and prompting aluminum producer Rusal to suspend operations at the country’s biggest alumina producing plant.
Eleven thousand Russians were being evacuated from neighborhoods in Krasnoyarsk region’s city of Achinsk following blasts and a fire at a military storage facility, TASS news agency cited local authorities as saying.
Photographs showed a huge explosion on the horizon with flames leaping into the sky followed by belching black smoke.
Eight people were injured in the incident, TASS news agency cited doctors as saying. A Russian soldier was killed, TASS cited a source as saying. A source from another agency, RIA, at the defense ministry denied the information about the soldier’s death.
Rusal, the world’s largest aluminum producer outside China, suspended operations at its Achinsk alumina plant and evacuated all but essential staff to ensure their safety, it said.
The plant is Russia’s largest producer of alumina, a raw material which is smelted into aluminum.
Loading is operating on schedule at Russian oil giant Rosneft’s Achinsk oil refinery, TASS quoted a refinery spokesperson as saying. The refinery is located 30km from the military base.
Reporting by Polina Devitt and Anastasia Lyrchikova; writing by Tom Balmforth; editing by Ed Osmond