Europe

1 killed as large fire rips through Ukraine military arsenal

  • A part of a missile seen is on the ground, as fire rages at a military ammunition depot in the background, in Balaklia, Ukraine on Thursday, March 23 2017. Around 20,000 people were evacuated Thursday in Ukraine's Kharkiv region near the border with Russia after a massive fire at a military arsenal.
The fire at the depot in Balaklia, which holds large-caliber artillery rounds and is one of Ukraine's largest, erupted early Thursday, prompting the evacuation and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to fly to the area to monitor the blaze, which is still raging. An area the size of 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the depot has been closed for flights.(AP Photo/Mykhailo Andriiv)

    A part of a missile seen is on the ground, as fire rages at a military ammunition depot in the background, in Balaklia, Ukraine on Thursday, March 23 2017. Around 20,000 people were evacuated Thursday in Ukraine's Kharkiv region near the border with Russia after a massive fire at a military arsenal. The fire at the depot in Balaklia, which holds large-caliber artillery rounds and is one of Ukraine's largest, erupted early Thursday, prompting the evacuation and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to fly to the area to monitor the blaze, which is still raging. An area the size of 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the depot has been closed for flights.(AP Photo/Mykhailo Andriiv)  (The Associated Press)

  • A part of a missile seen on the ground near a small shop as a fire rages at a military ammunition depot in Balaklia near Khrakiv in Ukraine on Thursday, March 23 2017. Around 20,000 people were evacuated Thursday in Ukraine's Kharkiv region near the border with Russia after a massive fire at a military arsenal.
The fire at the depot in Balaklia, which holds large-caliber artillery rounds and is one of Ukraine's largest, erupted early Thursday, prompting the evacuation and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to fly to the area to monitor the blaze, which is still raging. An area the size of 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the depot has been closed for flights. (AP Photo/Mykhailo Andriiv)

    A part of a missile seen on the ground near a small shop as a fire rages at a military ammunition depot in Balaklia near Khrakiv in Ukraine on Thursday, March 23 2017. Around 20,000 people were evacuated Thursday in Ukraine's Kharkiv region near the border with Russia after a massive fire at a military arsenal. The fire at the depot in Balaklia, which holds large-caliber artillery rounds and is one of Ukraine's largest, erupted early Thursday, prompting the evacuation and Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman to fly to the area to monitor the blaze, which is still raging. An area the size of 40 kilometers (25 miles) around the depot has been closed for flights. (AP Photo/Mykhailo Andriiv)  (The Associated Press)

A woman has died in an enormous fire at a Ukrainian munitions dump in the country's Kharkiv region near the Russian border.

The body of the 66-year old woman was found in a house that had been hit by a shell in a town near the depot in Balaklia, Ukraine's State Emergency Service minister Mykola Chechetkin told lawmakers Friday.

About 20,000 people were evacuated when the fire broke out Thursday at one of Ukraine's largest military arsenals, which held huge stocks of large-caliber artillery rounds.

Chechetkin said the blaze was continuing but its intensity had lessened.

Ukrainian officials have accused Russian or separatist saboteurs of causing the fire with the aid of a drone. Separatists deny the claim and say it likely was caused by what they call Ukrainian military incompetence.