Fire sweeps through Russian defense building as Putin holds Kremlin | world news
A fire raged near the Kremlin yesterday as Vladimir Putin held secret talks with Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko.
When two leaders met, emergency services rushed to the fire in a building of the Ministry of Defense at 19 Znamenka Street in Moscow.
Dramatic footage shows smoke pouring out of windows and rising into the sky.
Around 50 people were evacuated, although the cause of the fire has not yet been confirmed.
The fire occurred in a building known as the Apraksin House, which has housed the administrative services of the Russian Defense Ministry since 1987.
It is close to the Defense Ministry headquarters and a few hundred meters from the Kremlin.
In a statement, Russia’s Defense Ministry said: “Around 19:30 (16:30 GMT) at one of the Defense Ministry’s administrative buildings in Moscow, staff on duty detected smoke on the premises.
“The Fire Department and the Ministry of Emergency Situations came to the scene.”
Some reports said the part of the building that was burning was a military property department dealing with facilities across the country.
No injuries were reported.
As firefighters scramble to put out the blazes, Putin is said to have been holding talks in the Kremlin with Lukashenko – an ally in his war with Ukraine.
Unexplained fires have been reported in factories, barracks and even a former Ikea store in Russia in recent months.
The head of Ukraine’s intelligence agency, Major General Kyrylo Budanov, told Forbes last month that the country had experienced many unusual explosions and fires.
“A lot of this is no coincidence,” he said, admitting that Ukraine was paying Russian saboteurs.
“Something’s always on fire [in Russia].
“Signal systems on railways, it lights up several times a day, on various motorways constantly for two to three hours, sometimes for five to six hours, traffic is stopped.”
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