According to Russia's defense ministry, ammunition exploded at a military air base, with local authorities confirming one death.
According to the country's defence ministry, a Russian military air base was at the center of several blasts in Crimea on Tuesday. Officials in Moscow said the explosions were caused by accidental detonation of ammunition, and that the installation had not been attacked.
At least one person was killed in the incident, with five more hospitalized, according to local authorities. The number of injured was later increased to nine.
After the Maidan coup in Kiev, the predominantly Russian-speaking Crimea used to be part of Ukraine, but joined Russia in March 2014 after a referendum on reunification.
On Tuesday afternoon, the first reports of explosions, accompanied by cell-phone videos of their immediate aftermath, appeared on the Russian Telegram channel Baza and local media.
Major Russian media outlets ran reports of the blasts, with Crimean authorities later confirming the incident.
The first explosion took place around 3 pm local time, and was followed by several more. The incident occurred in Novofyodorovka village, where a Russian military air base is located, according to eyewitnesses.
The initial footage that circulated on social media and was reposted by Russian news outlets shows clouds of gray smoke rising in the distance. One video apparently captured the sound of one of the explosions.
Eyewitnesses said that windows in nearby buildings had been shattered as a result of the blasts.
The 5 km zone around the epicenter was cordoned off by police in order to make sure local residents don't get injured. He said that air medical services as well as paramedics were working at the scene. Aksyonov did not make a statement regarding casualties at first.
The official confirmed one death later in the day, saying that now official information is coming in, unfortunately, we have one fatality. He stated that residents in the immediate vicinity of the airfield would be relocated. Aksyonov promised that nobody who had suffered from the blasts would be left without help. Five people were injured in the incident, including one minor, according to Crimea s health ministry. All of them are said to have been hospitalized, with their condition described as non-life threatening.
According to preliminary information, the explosion happened far away from the tourist zone, with no casualties among holidaymakers, Russia s tourism industry association posted a message on its Telegram channel.
Later in the day, Russia's defense ministry issued a statement about the incident. It said the blast had been caused by ammunition that had detonated at the Saki military air base.
Moscow's military insists that it did not come under fire. The incident had not resulted in any casualties among personnel or damage to military aircraft stationed at the base, according to the statement.
The ministry said that the cause is being investigated and the fire is being extinguished.