At least one of the two consecutive blasts in Lugansk has affected a gas pipeline
At least two explosions rocked the city of Lugansk in eastern Ukraine late on Friday, a Sputnik news agency correspondent has reported. Local media have also confirmed that the first blast affected a pipeline in the area, resulting in a major fire. The second one reportedly took place at a gas station.
The reports of explosions come just hours after the neighboring city of Donetsk was rocked by another blast. It was caused by a car bomb, which targeted a vehicle belonging to the head of the people’s militia of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, and did not result in any casualties.
Earlier, both self-proclaimed republics in Lugansk and Donetsk ordered a mass evacuation of civilians from the area to Russia, citing fears of a potential attack by the Ukrainian military. Meanwhile, Kiev has denied any plans to take the breakaway regions by force.
Tensions are currently running high in eastern Ukraine, as the two breakaway republics – known colloquially as Donbass – allege the government in Kiev is planning a military operation to claim their territory by force. They have cited a sharp increase in incidents along the armistice line, including the use of artillery, mortars, and tanks by the Ukrainian military…
A massive explosion in the center of Donetsk on Friday evening was the work of a car bomb that detonated outside the government headquarters, the authorities in the breakaway region in eastern Ukraine have said.
Multiple reports of the blast came shortly after both Donetsk and Lugansk, the two regions that seceded from Ukraine in 2014, announced an evacuation of civilians into Russia, fearing an attack by the Ukrainian military.
RT correspondent Roman Kosarev, who is on the ground in Donetsk to report on the evacuation, has also confirmed that he heard the explosion.
Images from the scene show a completely destroyed car in the parking lot about 100 meters or so outside the seat of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People’s Republic, with significant damage to other vehicles nearby.
The targeted vehicle belonged to the head of the DPR People’s Militia, Denis Sinenkov, who told Interfax that he was not injured in the blast…
The authorities in Donetsk are asking residents to remain calm, stay on alert, and limit movement around the city as much as they can.