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Blasts at Russian 'Kristall' explosives plant

June 1, 2019

More than 80 people were injured and two more were missing after explosions and a fire at an explosives plant in Dzerzhinsk. The cause of the blasts that shattered windows in the city of 230,000 was not clear.

Explosion at Dzerzhinsk plant east of Moscow
Image: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Sorokina

Several blasts ripped through an explosives factory in central Russia on Saturday, injuring at least 85 people and damaging 180 nearby buildings, the Health Ministry said. 

A total of 39 of the injured were workers at the plant, while 46 were local residents from Dzerzhinsk, a city with a population of around 230,000. Sixteen people were taken to hospital, many of them with wounds from shattered glass. 

Authorities said earlier that two people were missing.

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The blast was followed by a fire
The blast was followed by a fireImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Y. Sorokina

Cause unknown

It was not immediately clear what caused the blasts. An 800-square-meter area at the factory site had been on fire, according to the Ministry for Emergency Situations.

The fire at the plant, about 400 kilometers (250 miles) east of Moscow, also spread to a nearby forest before firefighters put it out later on Saturday afternoon.

The region's governor, Gleb Nikitin, convened an emergency comittee meeting and declared a state of emergency in the area, the Interfax news agency reported.

Russia's Investigative Committee said it had opened a probe into possible industrial safety breaches at the Kristall facility, which manufactures TNT.

The plant was founded in Soviet times and is a major developer of explosives for military and civilian use in Russia. A blast had rocked the factory two months ago.

Nearly a dozen accidents have happened in explosives factories across Russia since 2014, according to the Tass news agency.

jsi,nm/amp (Reuters, AFP)

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