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A fire at a military outpost in Crimea sparks evacuations

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Correction: An earlier version of this article cited a Telegram account purporting to be the head of Ukraine’s military intelligence, Kirillo Budanov, who falsely stated that Kiev was responsible for Wednesday’s fire.

A fire broke out on Wednesday at a military training area in Crimea, the Russian-appointed governor said, prompting authorities to order the evacuation of more than 2,000 civilians.

The authorities did not specify the cause of the fire, but some Russian media reported that explosions were heard in the area and video footage showed columns of black smoke in the sky.

“The temporary evacuation of residents of four districts adjacent to the military outpost in the Kirovsky district is planned. This number is more than 2,000 people,” said Sergey Aksionov, the Moscow-installed Crimean president.

The Kremlin announced Wednesday afternoon that Russian President Vladimir Putin had been informed of the fire.

“We know there was a fire there [in Crimea]. “Emergency measures are being taken and the situation is clearing up,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

Ukraine’s military intelligence service, the GUR, denied that its chief, Kirillo Budanov, had issued comment on the fire in Crimea.

Comments published by several media outlets, “that the explosion at the training ground in Crimea was the work of the armed forces and that the GUR is fake,” spokesman Andrei Yusov told the Sospillin station.

Telegram channels are believed to have links to the Russian security services He said The fire broke out in the missile depot at the training site.

The Russian army supplies its forces in the Kherson and Zaporizhia regions of southern Ukraine via the Crimea peninsula.

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AFP contributed to this report.

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