Moment gunpowder factory explodes before bursting into flames in Russia

Russia: Report a large fire at a gunpowder factory in Kotovsk

A fire has once again erupted at the gunpowder factory in Kotovsk, located in the Russian region of Tambov.

This incident comes amid the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with Ukrainian forces reportedly targeting various military, logistical, and infrastructural sites in both occupied territories and within Russia.

The Ukrainian government has not officially commented on the alleged attack at the Kotovsk gunpowder factory, marking a departure from their usual response to such incidents.

Reports of Ukrainian attacks on Russian territory have seen a notable uptick since the summer of 2023.

This is not the first time the Kotovsk facility has faced such an attack. In June of this year, a fire at the same factory resulted in the death of four individuals and left twelve others injured.

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At that time, the regional governor attributed the incident to human error, vehemently denying any indication of an intentional attack.

The Kotovsk factory is a crucial industrial plant in Russia, responsible for producing ammunition for the Russian military, including gunpowder used in small arms cartridges. The facility’s strategic importance makes it a potential target in the ongoing conflict.

It comes as Ukrainian and Russian officials on Friday reported reaching an agreement to bring a Ukrainian teenager taken to Russia amid the war last year back to his home country, in accordance with his wishes.

Bohdan Yermokhin, a 17-year-old whose parents passed away years ago, will be reunited with a cousin “in a third country” on his 18th birthday later this month, with a view to then return to Ukraine, Russian children’s rights ombudswoman Maria Lvova-Belova said in an online statement Friday.

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Ukraine’s human rights ombudsman Dmytro Lubinets also confirmed on Friday that Yermokhin “will soon be in Ukraine”.

Yermokhin is one of thousands of Ukrainian children taken to Russia from Ukrainian regions occupied since the February 24, 2022, invasion, an effort that has prompted the International Criminal Court to issue arrest warrants for President Vladimir Putin and Lvova-Belova. Judges at the International Criminal Court in The Hague, Netherlands, said they found “reasonable grounds to believe” the two were responsible for war crimes, including the illegal deportation and transfer of children from occupied Ukrainian regions to Russia.

The Kremlin has dismissed the warrants as null and void, insisting that Russia doesn’t recognize the jurisdiction of the ICC. Lvova-Belova has argued that the children were taken to Russia for their safety, not abducted — a claim widely rejected by the international community.

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