Six killed in Russian military base blast
Six Russian soldiers were killed and 12 others injured Tuesday in an ammunition dump blast that officials blamed on basic security breaches.
State news agencies said the blast struck a military base in the southern Astrakhan region that sits at the mouth of the Volga River, about 1,100 kilometres (685 miles) south of Moscow.
"The blast went off during munitions disposal," a local security source told the ITAR-TASS news agency.
"According to preliminary information, there was no fire and this poses no danger to the (local) population," the official said.
The defence ministry in Moscow confirmed the toll but provided no further details. But one official told RIA Novosti that investigators suspected violations of basic safety regulations.
"We are looking at various possibilities, but the prime among them is the violations of safety procedures during the disposal of munitions," a regional military prosecutor's office said.
The incident occurred at Ashuluk -- a military facility that Russia regularly uses to conduct war games and training exercises with the armed forces of other former Soviet states.
It was the forth serious explosion since April and the first deadly incident since at least one serviceman was killed when a fire set off artillery shells and old rockets at a military base in the central region of Udmurtiya.
© 2011 AFP