Thousands evacuated in Ukraine as ammunition depot explodes

KIEV, Sept 27 (Reuters) - Massive explosions and a blaze at a military ammunition depot in central Ukraine forced authorities to evacuate 24,000 people and close airspace over the region, officials said on Wednesday.

The blasts occurred late on Tuesday at a military base near Kalynivka in the Vynnytsya region, 168 miles west of Kiev, Ukrainian emergencies service said in a statement.

One person was injured, it said.

Arriving in the region hours later, Prime Minister Volodymyr Groysman said "external factors" were behind the incident.

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Ammunition depot explodes in Ukraine
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Ammunition depot explodes in Ukraine

Smoke and flames rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Smoke and flames rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Yurii Basiuk)

A resident evacuated from villages located near a military ammunitions depot that exploded is seen in the school gymnasium in Vinnytsia, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Smoke and flames rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

A destroyed house is seen near the warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in Kalynivka, Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Residents evacuated from villages located near the warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base that exploded are seen in the school gymnasium in Vinnytsia, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) ride on the road as smoke rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Local residents walk to the evacuation bus, near the warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in Kalynivka, Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Armoured Personnel Carriers (APC) ride on the road as smoke rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

A destroyed car is seen as National Guards patrol the area near the warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in Kalynivka, Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Armored Personnel Carriers (APC) ride on the road as smoke rise over a warehouse storing ammunition for multiple rocket launcher systems at a military base in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine September 27, 2017.

(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich)

Ammunition depots in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region caught fire on Tuesday evening, which has been followed by explosions of bombs, shells and other types of ammunition. After the first explosions were reported at 22:00 local time on Tuesday, September 26. more than 27 thous. inhabitants were evacuated out of the caution area. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
An elderly man and his dog wait to be evacuated, September 27, 2017. Ammunition depots in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region caught fire on Tuesday evening, which has been followed by explosions of bombs, shells and other types of ammunition. After the first explosions were reported at 22:00 local time on Tuesday, September 26. more than 27 thous. inhabitants were evacuated out of the caution area. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
Emergency workers feed two kids before the evacuation, September 27, 2017. Ammunition depots in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region caught fire on Tuesday evening, which has been followed by explosions of bombs, shells and other types of ammunition. After the first explosions were reported at 22:00 local time on Tuesday, September 26. more than 27 thous. inhabitants were evacuated out of the caution area. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
The damaged house in a nearby village of Pavlivka is seen burnt following an explosion at an ammunition depot in Kalynivka town, not far from Vinnytsia, Ukraine, September 27, 2017. Ammunition depots in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region caught fire on Tuesday evening, which has been followed by explosions of bombs, shells and other types of ammunition. After the first explosions were reported at 22:00 local time on Tuesday, September 26. more than 27 thous. inhabitants were evacuated out of the caution area. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
People evacuate from the town of Kalynivka following munition explosions at the nearby military depot on September 27, 2017. Ukranian authorities evacuated nearly 30,000 people September 27 from the central Vinnytsya region after a huge munitions depot caught fire and set off artillery shells and blasts prosecutors were treating as an act of 'sabotage'. It was the second major incident affecting a Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev blamed the first one in March on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wrecked east -- a charge both sides denied. / AFP PHOTO / SERGEI SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
People wait near the security forces check point near Kalynivka town to be allowed to take some their belongings from abandoned homes, September 27, 2017. Ammunition depots in the town of Kalynivka in Vinnytsia region, Ukraine, caught fire on Tuesday evening, which has been followed by explosions of bombs, shells and other types of ammunition. After the first explosions were reported at 22:00 local time on Tuesday, September 26. more than 27 thous. inhabitants were evacuated out of the caution area. (Photo by Sergii Kharchenko/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - This photo taken on September 27, 2017 near Kalynivka shows explosions at a military munitions depot. Ukranian authorities evacuated nearly 30,000 people September 27 from the central Vinnytsya region after a huge munitions depot caught fire and set off artillery shells and blasts prosecutors were treating as an act of 'sabotage'. It was the second major incident affecting a Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev blamed the first one in March on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wrecked east -- a charge both sides denied. / AFP PHOTO / Sergei SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
TOPSHOT - This photo taken on September 27, 2017 near Kalynivka shows explosions at a military munitions depot. Ukranian authorities evacuated nearly 30,000 people September 27 from the central Vinnytsya region after a huge munitions depot caught fire and set off artillery shells and blasts prosecutors were treating as an act of 'sabotage'. It was the second major incident affecting a Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev blamed the first one in March on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wrecked east -- a charge both sides denied. / AFP PHOTO / Sergei SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
This photo taken on September 27, 2017 near Kalynivka shows explosions at a military munitions depot. Ukranian authorities evacuated nearly 30,000 people September 27 from the central Vinnytsya region after a huge munitions depot caught fire and set off artillery shells and blasts prosecutors were treating as an act of 'sabotage'. It was the second major incident affecting a Ukrainian weapons storage site this year. Kiev blamed the first one in March on Moscow and its Russian-backed insurgents fighting Ukrainian forces in the war-wrecked east -- a charge both sides denied. / AFP PHOTO / Sergei SUPINSKY (Photo credit should read SERGEI SUPINSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
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(Reporting by Pavel Polityuk; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore)

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