Speed Reads

Cold War

Russia blames explosion of ammunition cache near Ukraine border on high temperatures

Ammunition stored in southern Russia near the Ukrainian border burst into flames Tuesday. It was the second ammunition depot to catch fire in two weeks on the Russian side of the border. Russia said the fire, which forced people near the village of Timonovo to evacuate, was caused by high temperatures. No injuries were reported.

Ukraine seldom claims responsibility for explosions in Russia or Russian-occupied territory, although it often mocks Russia and suggests it is careless or hiding the real cause of the incidents. "In a few months we will find out whether Russian ammunition can explode because of the cold," Ukraine's defense ministry tweeted Tuesday. "The five main causes of sudden explosions in Russia are: winter, spring, summer, autumn, and smoking."

Ukraine, meanwhile, is celebrating its independence day on Wednesday, marking 31 years since its break from the Soviet Union. This year, independence day also comes exactly six months after Russia invaded. The war is not going as Russia planned, analysts and Britain's Ministry of Defense say.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned that Russian forces might intensify missile strikes and other attacks around independence day. His government has urged Ukrainians to be "especially careful." The U.S. Embassy urged Americans to leave Ukraine ahead of potential Russian attacks on civilian infrastructure and government buildings around Ukraine's independence day, saying "the security situation throughout Ukraine is highly volatile and conditions may deteriorate without warning."