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16 October, 2018
Ichnya depot incident: Ukraine has left its lessons unlearnt after Balakliya and Kalinovka

A large-scale fire at the ammunition depot near the town of Ichnia, Chernihiv oblast, is the fourth such incident after the conflict began in the eastern Ukraine. The Deutsche Welle’s Ukrainian editors office analyzes why Ukraine has not learnt its lessons.

In Ukraine, after the beginning of the Donbass conflict, the military depots have burnt every year: in 2015, there were explosions in Svatov in Lugansk, in 2017 - large-scale fires in ammunition depots in Balakliya in the Kharkiv region and near Kalinovka in Vinnitsa region. Now, on October 9, stockpiles of weapons and ammunition near the town of Ichnia, Chernihiv region, are burning. It is 180 kilometers from Kyiv. The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has already reported that, according to the preliminary data, the fire was caused by the arsenal destruct. The sabotage version was the main one after the fire at the ammunition depots in Kalinovka. And after the blasts in Balakliya, Minister of Interior of Ukraine Arsen Avakov called the fire a planned terrorist attack by Russia. However, where are the results of investigations of all these explosions, - asks Deutsche Welle journalist Liliya Rzheutska. "The activity of the military prosecutor's office isn’t completely transparent, and the pre-trial investigation lasts for years," states Taras Yemchura, an analyst at the Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee. The Independent Defence Anti-Corruption Committee points out that the budget for 2018 will provide more than UAH 300 million for a program for the disposal of ammunition and security of depots. This is three times more than in 2017, and six times as high as allocated to this program in 2016. "There is a problem with the transparency of the use of these funds, and now in Ukraine there is a need to introduce NATO standards for the storage of ammunition, which means even bigger expenses. But if there is no proper oversight over the Ministry of Defence activities, then the probable corruption risks and the recurrence of fires are quite probable," - says NAKO expert Taras Yemchura.