October 30, 2015 / 10:06 AM / 4 years ago

Ukraine calls deadly depot blast a terrorist act

A woman looks on at a local kindergarten, which was damaged by explosions at a military depot in Svatove in Luhansk region, Ukraine, October 30, 2015. REUTERS/Maks Levin

KIEV (Reuters) - Explosions in a Ukrainian ammunition depot that killed two civilians overnight is being investigated as a terrorist act, the Defence Ministry said on Friday.

On Thursday, a series of blasts ripped through the military complex in Ukrainian-controlled Svatove, a town around 100 km (62 miles) from the front line with pro-Russian separatists in eastern Luhansk region.

The fire was started by “the release of a flare that fell onto the territory from outside the base,” the ministry said in a statement, and said the incident was being investigated as a “terrorist act.”

It did not say who it suspected was behind the alleged attack.

Nighttime video footage showed huge clouds of smoke billowing up from the depot, which contained 3,500 tonnes of ammunition. Occasional explosions shot fireballs into the sky.

In addition to the two casualties, four civilians and four servicemen were wounded, the Ukrainian military in Luhansk said.

The incident comes as a lull in violence on the front lines and the withdrawal of weapons by both sides raise hopes for a fragile peace process aimed at ending a conflict that has killed over 8,000 since April 2014.

Reporting by Natalia Zinets; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Larry King

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