This time it’s the 99th Artillery Depot in Bashkortostan. A fire during the decommissioning of 120mm shells caused the conflagration. Residents of the nearest populated area, Urman, have been evacuated. Fragments are flying 3-4 kilometers in all directions. At least it wasn’t a heavily or densely populated zone.
Here’s RIA Novosti video of the scene. The press service provided handy background on depot explosions over the last ten years.
And the Defense Ministry had just finished announcing that 20,000 rail cars’ worth of old stocks of munitions for World War III were destroyed during the last year. But apparently not quickly or safely enough.
Such is the fate of a military reformer . . . Defense Minister Serdyukov’s doing the right thing, getting rid of this old Cold War-era excess, but stockpiles keep blowing up in the very process of trying to eliminate them. And, as noted before, Serdyukov isn’t making any friends in localties near the demolition work.
Destroying old ammo is necessary, but the Russian military also needs to move faster on the effort to move depots away from cities and towns, and to construct more secure storage facilities. Both more costly than just blowing up old stuff.
Meanwhile, managers and workers in Russia’s munitions industry have been pretty upset this year that their orders were drastically cut. They’d obviously prefer to continue working and adding to the stockpile. See Vladimir Mukhin’s article on this from March.