Large fires tore through oil depots on Monday in Bryansk, a Russian city less than 100 miles from the Ukrainian border that is a key logistical hub in Russia’s war effort.
Russian officials said they were investigating the cause. The fires took place on the same day that Russian forces targeted critical infrastructure across Ukraine.
Russian state television reported two separate explosions. One was at a civilian oil storage facility — part of a pipeline that links Russian oil fields with Europe — and the other was at a military oil depot. One blaze engulfed an oil tank that held 10,000 tons of diesel fuel, state television reported; the other contained 5,000 tons of diesel.
Russia has accused Ukraine of conducting several attacks on border crossing points and other facilities inside the country.
Videos from the scene in Bryansk, corroborated by the news agency Storyful, showed giant plumes of smoke billowing from two separate fires, about a mile away from each other.
Aleksandr Bogomaz, the governor of Bryansk region, confirmed only the fire at the civilian oil depot. The military facility with oil tanks next door was described by a local state-run job search website as a warehouse for missile and other fuel.
No injuries were reported, according to the Russian emergency situations ministry, which dispatched firefighters and rescue services to the scene, the Russian news agency Tass reported. Russian investigators launched an inquiry into the incident.
The fires in Bryansk followed a string of similar incidents in Russian regions bordering Ukraine.
In early April two Ukrainian helicopters struck an oil depot in Belgorod, less than 20 miles from the Ukrainian border, the first such strike in Russian territory to be made public since the start of the war more than two months ago. Russian officials also accused Ukraine of an attack that hit residential buildings in Bryansk two weeks ago. Ukraine’s defense ministry, which has generally declined to discuss reports of attacks on Russian soil, had no immediate comment on Monday.
The fires on Monday occurred hours after two senior American officials, Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken and Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III, met with President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine in Kyiv, the capital, in the highest-level visit by American officials to Ukraine since the start of the war.
Russian forces continued to attack critical infrastructure across Ukraine on Monday, including missile strikes that hit at least five railway stations, according to the Ukrainian authorities.
In addition to the blazes that tore through the Russian oil depots near the Ukrainian border, several fires have been reported further inside Russia. Seventeen people died after a fire on Thursday at a key aerospace defense research institute in the town of Tver, north of Moscow, local authorities said. Russian officials also reported another fire on Thursday at a major chemical factory in the Ivanovo region, 200 miles northeast of Moscow.