Belarus says 'technical incident' behind blasts at military base

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Aug 11 (Reuters) - Belarus said on Thursday that blasts heard overnight at one of its military bases 30 km (19 miles) from Ukraine were caused by a "technical incident."

At least eight explosions were heard after midnight near Zyabrovka military airport, according to reports on Telegram messenger. Reuters was not able to independently verify the reports.

Commenting on the incident, the Belarusian Defence Ministry said "the engine of a vehicle caught fire after replacement ... There were no casualties."

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The incident occurred after powerful explosions rocked Russia's Saki air base earlier this week in Russian-ruled Crimea, which Moscow had termed an accident. read more

Ukraine has declined to publicly claim responsibility for the explosions at the base, while also not denying involvement.

Belarus is a close ally of Russia.

Near identical impact craters seen in satellite images and simultaneous explosions appear to indicate the military airport was hit by a volley of new long-range weapons, capable of evading Russian defences. read more

After reports of the blasts in Belarus, Ukrainian presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak noted what he termed an "epidemic of technical accidents," something he described as a warning to Russian troops.

"The epidemic of technical accidents at military airfields of Crimea and Belarus should be considered by Russia military as a warning: forget about Ukraine, take off the uniform and leave," Podolyak said on Twitter.

"Neither in occupied Crimea nor in occupied Belarus will you feel safe. Karma finds you anywhere," he added.

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Writing by Nerijus Adomaitis in Oslo Editing by Matthew Lewis

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