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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian military to close 'fireworks' arms depot next year

RIA Novosti

22:40 01/12/2009 ULYANOVSK, December 1 (RIA Novosti) - The Ulyanovsk arms depot where 10 servicemen were killed in explosions last month will be closed by the end of next year, a spokesman for the regional governor said on Tuesday.

Dozens were injured in the explosions on November 13 and 23 at the Arsenal 31 arms depot, which belongs to the Russian Caspian Sea Fleet.

The spokesman said it was not only a matter of removing the ammunition from the depot, based in the Volga region city since 1941, but also relocating personnel and providing them with new housing.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week dismissed a number of high-ranking officers after the explosions.

The November 13 explosions, which killed two naval personnel, are believed to have occurred while ammunition was being dismantled at the depot.

Six unexploded artillery shells were later found in the vicinity of the depot. More than 1,000 local residents were evacuated from the area.

The November 23 explosion occurred when ammunition was being loaded into a truck. Eight servicemen were killed in the incident.

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