One person died and fifty-six people were injured in a massive explosion at a factory some 75km from the center of Moscow, according to reports.
Videos posted on social media showed a large mushroom cloud rising above the site of the blast.
Local authorities have blamed a breach in protocols as the primary cause of the explosion, countering rumors of a Ukrainian drone strike that had circulated via Telegram channels.
The Zagorsk Optical-Mechanical Plant in Sergiyev Posad has contracts with the Russian Ministry of Defense and produces sights, thermal imagers, laser rangefinders, and other similar products for the Kremlin’s forces.
Among the 31 people injured, 19 have been transported to hospitals for medical attention, Governor Vorobyov of the Moscow region reported.
Of these, three people are in critical condition and are presently receiving intensive care, while another 12 individuals are under observation in the emergency room.
Russian media reports say the explosion occurred in a warehouse being rented by a pyrotechnics company.
Russian Telegram channels posted videos showing broken windows, debris and shocked bystanders some distance from the epicenter of the blast.
An emergency services source told the Russian state media outlet: “The explosion occurred on the territory of the Zagorsk optical-mechanical plant in the area of the boiler house. The shock wave caused the windows of several houses to be blown out.”
The cause of the explosion is not yet known.
Moscow has been struck by Ukrainian drones on several occasions in recent weeks. Just this morning, two Ukrainian combat drones headed for Moscow were shot down, Russian officials said.
Tass reported that emergency services did not believe today’s blast was caused by a drone.
Kyiv Post approached a source in Ukraine's military intelligence but they declined to comment on the explosion.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated regularly.
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