A huge plume of black smoke rose from a fuel storage facility in the village of Kalynivka outside Kyiv on Friday, AFP reporters saw, as Russia said it had destroyed the military site with Kalibr cruise missiles.
“On the evening of March 24, Kalibr high-precision sea-based cruise missiles attacked a fuel base in the village of Kalynivka near Kyiv,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
Moscow claimed it was the largest remaining military fuel storage facility in Ukraine, saying it supplied troops in the central part of the pro-Western country.
Ukraine confirmed the strike, saying it had hit around 8 pm (0600 GMT) in the village some 40 kilometres south-west of Kyiv.
Kyiv’s emergencies ministry said there was no threat of the fire spreading outside the oil depot.
AFP saw fireballs leaping into the air from the facility, with a smaller fire blazing from a severed fuel line.
“We saw the explosion, it was very big,” a security guard at the facility said at a checkpoint near the depot, asking not to be identified.
“Fortunately, there were no casualties,” he said.
Moscow’s announcement of the strike came on the 29th day of what Moscow has termed a “special military operation” in Ukraine, with thousands killed and more than 10 million displaced.
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Since Russia launched its attack of Ukraine, Russian troops have destroyed more than 260 drones, over 1,580 tanks and other armoured vehicles and 204 anti-aircraft weapons systems, Moscow said.
While Ukrainian forces have stalled the initial Russian advance and even launched some successful counterattacks, there are early signs that both sides are digging in for a long and bloody war that neither can easily win.