VIDEOS: Heavy Blast Heard in Lugansk, Sputnik Correspondent Reports
21:21 GMT 18.02.2022 (Updated: 13:54 GMT 19.12.2022)
© SputnikExplosion on gas pipeline in Luhansk, 19 February 2022
The situation on the line of contact in Donbass, Ukraine escalated on Thursday morning following reports by the self-proclaimed Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics of active shelling carried out by Ukrainian armed forces.
A powerful explosion has hit Lugansk, a Sputnik correspondent said. It was followed by a second explosion just half an hour later.
The first blast was said to have occurred at the gas pipeline "Druzhba" and led to a massive fire.
Local gas infrastructure manager “Luganskgaz” said in a statement that emergency crews, firefighters and police are now present at the site.
"At 00:10 on 19 February, calls began to arrive about a major fire on the gas pipeline near Malaya Vergunka, emergency teams of the State Unitary Enterprise ‘Luganskgaz’ went to the scene," "Luganskgaz" told reporters.
The fire was said to be extinguished. There are no reports reports of casualties or injuries so far.
According to the head of "Luganskgaz" Tatiana Bogorodko, both explosions were acts of "sabotage."
A second blast reportedly hit a gas station.
The authorities of the DPR and the self-proclaimed Lugansk People's Republic started the evacuation of civilians to Russia on Friday, fearing military aggression by the Ukrainian government. DPR head Denis Pushilin expects Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to order a full-scale offensive against the self-proclaimed republics in the nearest future.