Forest fires in eastern Ukraine kill four
KYIV (UKRAINE) – A series of forest fires hit part of the eastern Ukrainian region of Luhansk, because of which four people lost their lives and ten were hospitalised, Ukraine’s emergency service said on Thursday.
The service said in a statement that the fires put 22 settlements under threat and engulfed an area of about 18,000 hectares (70 sq miles). At least 120 people were evacuated.
Local authorities confirmed that there were a total of 146 fires, 82 of them were extinguished. Ukrainian authorities have stated that the reason for the fires were due to shelling from the separatists, as the area was controlled by pro-Russian separatists.
The Ukrainian presidential office urged law enforcement bodies to find the cause of the fires. The office said in a statement, “The reasons for such a large-scale spread of fire must be clearly established.”
“We also take into account the information about provocative shelling that could have been carried out from the temporarily occupied territory… and could have caused at least some of these fires in such weather conditions,” it added.
Earlier this year, one person died and nine were hospitalised in a similar forest fire that hit the Luhansk region, ravaging 80 dacha holiday cottages and 30 houses in two villages.