UPDATE: Both the US-backed regime in Kiev and separatists have accused each other of causing the blast at the facility which was under control of local militias at the time. Speculation around the internet focused on the possibility of a tactical nuclear event, however as more video information became available, analysis pointed to conventional weaponry being the most likely cause.
Local militia reported that a military chemical plant DKZHI was the target of Kiev’s artillery shelling. However, Kiev blame a dropped cigarette butt
RT reports: “The center of the blast was near DKZHI,” co-chairman of the anti-Kiev People’s Front Konstantin Dolgov said on his Facebook page. The factory is known for producing chemical products used for industrial explosives, ammunition and equipment artillery bombs. This is not the first time the plant has been the target of a Kiev attack. It was also hit with artillery rockets in September and November.
The militia forces would not immediately confirm if there were casualties, either among militiamen or civilians. But they said the fire, which started after the explosion, poses no threat of a chemical spill, which is a cause of great concern at the plant, as it handles toxic compounds in producing explosives.
“The fire has been contained. There is not threat of chemical spill… Most likely it was a high-caliber artillery shell,” said an official from the Donetsk People’s Republic.
The spokesman for Kiev’s Anti-Terrorist Operation said that rebels were at fault for the accident.
“This was caused by a dropped cigarette butt,” Andrey Lysenko told the media on Monday.
“Accidents often happen in factories where no one is responsible for fire safety. Well, it’s chaos, and they are barbarians.”
Not all pro-Kiev officials agreed.
The Ukrainian military deployed a Smerch (the BM-30 Tornado) multiple rocket system to shell the area in the city, Boris Filatov, former deputy head of the industrial Dnepropetrovsk Region and a member of the Ukrainian parliament (Verkhovna Rada), said on his Facebook page.
According to Filatov, the men who fired the missiles “do not know what they hit because they were shooting based on coordinates.”
Earlier, Ukrainian far-right politician and paramilitary commander Dmitry Yarosh, who is involved in the Kiev military action in southeastern Ukraine, confirmed on his Facebook page that the explosion was caused by Ukrainian artillery.
A video has been released that appears to show a mushroom cloud emerging from a nuclear detonation followed by a shockwave.
The video was filmed on a cell phone inside a persons house nearby in Donetsk, Ukraine. The shockwave caused the window the man was filming from to smash.
The footage is consistent with a smaller tactical nuke designed for use on a battlefield in a military situation, as opposed to much larger strategic nukes used to level cities.
Russian media reports the epicenter of the explosion was in the Kuibyshev district of Donetsk, Ukraine, the site of the most intense fighting between rebels who want Eastern Ukraine to join Russia and the Western-backed Ukrainian government.
The media also said the explosion could be seen and felt for “tens of kilometers.”
The following image from a NATO satellite shows a mushroom cloud which is allegedly linked to the nuclear explosion.
We will keep you updated with this story as it develops.