Details remain very scarce at this time, but video has emerged on social media claiming to show a massive fireball rising from a site near Khmelnitsky, Ukraine. The explosion has a similar profile to what we have seen when mass ammunition or explosive storage areas detonate in a chain reaction, although that is a preliminary assessment at this time.
Ukraine's ammunition storage facilities, and the destruction of them, became alarmingly regular following Russia's initial invasion in 2014, but those incidents tapered off in recent years prior to the all-out invasion. While some work has been done to try to destroy the most volatile and derelict explosives, some of which date back to the Soviet era, many still remain.
One of these installations that stored rocket boosters for Soviet-era ICBMs among other explosives, detonated in a massive secondary explosion caused by a Russian missile attack just over a week ago. It could very well be that Russia is now prioritizing these sites as targets, possibly out of suspicion of more relevant, modern arms being stored there, or more likely out of their huge secondary blast potential.
Regardless of whether these videos are indeed legitimate, the town of Khmelnitsky does appear to have one large explosive storage facility on its outskirts. We cannot confirm if this was the target hit at this time though, although open source intelligence is pointing toward it. Satellite imagery for May 13 that can be used to confirm this has been posted yet.
This explosion, if it was caused by enemy action, could be part of an emerging new trend.
We will update this post as more information comes available.
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