A fire broke out at a Russian tank training ground following reports of explosions in the city of Kazan on Saturday, local media reports said.
The explosions were heard in the southern region of Kazan, a city of more than a million people located 447 miles east of Moscow, according to the Kiev Independent, an English-language Ukrainian news site. The explosions were heard near a site used for tank training amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Ukraine’s “special military operation” last February. The Russian leader initially hoped for a quick victory over Ukraine, but after more than a year of fighting, Russia is still struggling to make progress. Now, Ukraine appears to be preparing for a possible counter-offensive in the spring in a bid to recapture more occupied territory.
Details about the fire in Kazan remained scant on Saturday afternoon. Russian officials did not say the possible cause of the fire, nor did they disclose if anyone was injured or killed in the fire.
However, Russian officials denied receiving reports of a fire despite media reports and videos, according to local media in Kazan.
According to the Russian News Agency, residents resorted to Telegram to report the explosions, which were described as a “loud boom.” One resident wrote that the alleged explosions rocked their apartment complex.
Video footage showing a tower of smoke in Kazan appeared on social media on Saturday morning.
“#Kazan residents report a powerful explosion near Tank Square. Local authorities deny everything as usual,” Belarusian news outlet Nexta wrote on Twitter.
Local authorities said in October That some residents who were ordered to fight in Ukraine were sent to Kazan after Putin announced a partial mobilization of forces. The order was given amid Ukraine’s counter-offensive in the late summer of 2022, which has seen thousands of square miles of occupied territory recaptured.
While no cause was identified in the latest fire, several fires have broken out in Russia since the start of the Ukraine War.
Last month, a fire broke out at a factory that manufactures equipment, including Topol-M nuclear missile launchers, for the Russian army. Local authorities said seven people were rescued from the building.
Earlier that week, an anti-Putin movement called Black Bridge claimed responsibility for a fire in a building used by Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB) in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, near the Ukrainian border. At least four people were killed and five injured in the fire.
And last December, an army post near the Moscow Kremlin caught fire.
Newsweek I have reached out to the Russian Foreign Ministry for comment via e-mail.
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