Russia Strikes Ukrainian Arms Depot, Prompting Speculation Of Possible Fallout
Authored by Adam Morrow via The Epoch Times,
Moscow says its forces have destroyed a large munitions depot in Ukraine’s western city of Khmelnytskyi.
“One AFU [Armed Forces of Ukraine] ammunition depot has been destroyed close to Khmelnytskyi,” the Russian Defense Ministry stated in its daily briefing for May 14. Khmelnytskyi, the target of Russian strikes in February, is located roughly 170 miles southwest of Kyiv.
Ukraine’s Energy Ministry confirmed that a “massive” Russian barrage damaged an energy facility in the city in the early hours of May 13.
According to the ministry, the local power supply wasn’t affected by the strikes.
The city’s local military administration similarly reported that multiple drones had targeted “critical infrastructure.”
Khmelnytskyi’s mayor, Oleksandr Symchyshyn, said schools, residential buildings, and industrial facilities were damaged in what he described as a “terrorist attack.”
Speaking on the Telegram messaging app, Symchyshyn claimed that the Russian strikes had left a number of civilian residents injured.
On the same day, a Russian missile barrage destroyed a storage facility in the Ukrainian city of Ternopil, located just west of Khmelnytskyi.
Following the strike in Khmelnytskyi, video footage began circulating on Russian social media accounts that purportedly shows CCTV footage of the blast. The footage shows a facility—the nature of which is unclear—being rocked by a massive explosion, sending an enormous fireball into the sky.
This is probably the biggest explosion of the entire Ukrainian war
The Khmelnytskyi depot must’ve had a massive amount of fuel/ammunition for it to have multiple big recurring explosions pic.twitter.com/rpigK3D4qV
— LogKa (@LogKa11) May 13, 2023
The Epoch Times couldn’t verify the authenticity of the footage or whether it portrayed the recent Russian strike in Khmelnytskyi.
Nevertheless, the scope of the blast—and its fiery aftermath—has reportedly prompted speculation online that the targeted facility housed Western-supplied munitions containing depleted uranium.
In March, the UK announced plans to provide Kyiv with depleted uranium shells for its Challenger 2 combat tanks, 14 of which have already been sent to Ukraine.
Due to their extremely high density, depleted uranium shells are able to penetrate heavy armor. But they can also pose health risks to humans, animals, and ecosystems in and around impact areas.
Following London’s announcement, Russia’s Foreign Ministry warned that the potential effects of munitions containing depleted uranium would be “impossible to control.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has vowed to “respond accordingly” if such munitions are employed on the battlefield.
According to Intel Slava Z, a pro-Moscow news aggregator, rumors have spread on Ukrainian social media that the recent explosion in Khmelnytskyi had led to the dispersal of depleted uranium particles.
In a Telegram post, it claimed that there were “already reports” that radiation levels had surged in the vicinity of the city.
The Epoch Times was unable to verify the assertions.
If the NATO arms depots that Russia is blowing up contain depleted uranium munitions as supplied by the UK those areas of Ukraine may become hotbeds for lung cancer and birth defects as the dust from those exploded DU munitions can contaminate large areas of land for decades.
— Kim Dotcom (@KimDotcom) May 14, 2023
Allies Pledge More Arms to Kyiv
The strike in Khmelnytskyi coincided with a trip by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy to Berlin, where he met with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
It was Zelenskyy’s first visit to the German capital since Russia launched its invasion of Ukraine—Moscow calls it a “special military operation”—early last year.
Shortly before the Ukrainian leader’s arrival, Germany unveiled a fresh $3 billion aid package for Kyiv—its single largest contribution to date.
On May 15, Zelenskyy visited London, where UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak pledged to provide Ukraine with additional long-range missiles and attack drones. Last week, the UK announced that it had delivered Storm Shadow cruise missiles, which boast a range of more than 150 miles.
Speaking to Sunak, Zelenskyy said his country’s ongoing conflict with Russia was a matter of “security” for Ukraine and “all of Europe.”
Satellite images of the result of the missile attack of the Russian Aerospace Forces on May 13 on the ammunition depot of the Armed Forces of Ukraine west of Khmelnitsky (before and after) pic.twitter.com/NPLCZhaI97
— Dagny Taggart (@DagnyTaggart963) May 15, 2023
Soon afterward, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov accused the UK of “pumping weapons” into Ukraine.
“This won’t drastically change the course of the special military operation,” he said. “But it will definitely lead to further destruction.”
According to Sunak’s office, the UK prime minister plans to urge Kyiv’s other allies to step up support for Ukraine’s war effort at an upcoming meeting of G-7 leaders.
Reuters contributed to this report.
Mon, 05/15/2023 – 21:40