A series of large explosions rocked the town of Nova Kakhovka in the Kherson region of Ukraine on Monday evening. The city, like much of Cherson, is under Russian occupation.
It is the second large explosion in four days in the city, the site of a major hydroelectric power station and a water supply link to Crimea through the North Crimean Canal.
The video posted to social media showed loud explosions and a huge fireball lighting up the night sky.
Serhiy Khlan, a Ukrainian official who is a member of the Kherson regional council, said on Facebook: “In Nova Kakhovka minus a Russian ammunition depot. They brought, brought, stored, stored and now have fireworks at night.”
Khlan, who is not in Kherson, warned residents of Nova Kakhovka not to venture outdoors.
“Please take care and stay away from the site of the detonation,” he said.
Russia’s state news agency TASS, while not mentioning an exploding ammunition depot, reported late Wednesday: “Ukraine’s armed forces have attacked the Kakhovka hydroelectric power station in the Kherson region, a source said.”
But the deputy head of the Russian-backed military-civilian administration in Kherson, Kirill Stremousov, said Ukrainian missiles did not hit the hydroelectric power station.
TASS later said warehouses containing potassium nitrate had exploded. Potassium nitrate, a highly flammable substance used as an ingredient in fertilizers, was the cause of the Beirut explosion two years ago.
CNN cannot confirm the cause of the explosions or what was destroyed.
“There are casualties, the market, the hospital and houses have been damaged,” TASS reported, citing the Russian-backed civil-military administration in Kherson.
Ukrainian forces have stepped up missile and long-range artillery attacks against Russian command posts and ammunition dumps over the past week.