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Massive Explosions Hit Russian Munitions Plant, Dozens Injured

The explosions occurred on June 1 in the town of Dzerzhinsk in central Russia.
The explosions occurred on June 1 in the town of Dzerzhinsk in central Russia.

An explosives plant in central Russia has been hit by a series of massive blasts, and emergency officials say dozens of workers and local residents have been injured.

The June 1 blasts sent shock waves through the city of Dzerzhinsk, about 400 kilometers east of Moscow, shattering windows and damaging scores of buildings. It was the second such incident at the plant in two months.

The Health Ministry said 79 people sought medical help as a result of the blasts; 15 were hospitalized with one in critical condition.

Russian news agencies said a section of the Kristall factory was partially destroyed in the explosions, which sent huge plumes of smoke into the air.

The blasts also sparked a large fire at the facility, where explosives and ammunition are produced and stored.

The Interfax news agency said the plant director had been fired "literally a day before" for violating safety rules earlier in the year. The director was blamed for an explosion that occurred in April.

A local news site, V Gorode N, published a video of a car driver passing by the plant, and sound waves from the explosions echoed through the countryside.

The Telegram channel Breaking Mash, meanwhile, published a video showing scores of glass windows and doors shattered at the facility.

Dmitry Krasnov, deputy governor of the Nizhny Novgorod region, said on state TV that two people were missing.

Reports said the fire was still blazing as firefighters struggled to extinguish it.

Reports said firefighters struggled for six hours to extinguish blazes that broke out after the explosions.

Owned by the state conglomerate Rostec, the facility is decades old and is now a major producer of explosives and related equipment for military and civilian industrial purposes.

V Gorode N said the blasts were the second such incident at the factory in two months.

On April 4, an explosion destroyed a workshop facility at the plant.

No injuries were reported at the time.

With reporting by RFE/RL's Russian Service, TASS, Interfax, Tass, and AFP

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