At least one person has been killed and two people injured in a blast and fire at a building belonging to Russia’s FSB security service in the southern city of Rostov-on-Don, according to officials quoted by Russian news agencies.
Footage captured on Thursday by Reuters showed thick black smoke billowing into the air near residential buildings and a shopping centre in Rostov, the capital of a region that adjoins parts of eastern Ukraine where battles with Russia are raging.
The FSB, whose roles include internal security and counter-terrorism, said in a statement that fuel and lubricants had caught fire in a workshop, causing an explosion and the partial collapse of the building housing its border patrol section.
Vasily Golubev, the governor of Rostov, said the fire appeared to have been caused by an electrical short-circuit, and that nearby buildings had been evacuated while the fire burned.
Russian news agencies quoted emergency services as saying one person had been killed and two more injured.
Russia has reported sporadic fires at oil and gas installations on Russian territory near Ukraine, as well as attacks on its railways, since its invasion of Ukraine last year.
Moscow has sometimes accused Kyiv of cross-border attacks with drones. Last month, President Vladimir Putin told the FSB to do more to counteract what he said was increasing espionage and sabotage by Ukraine and the west.
Mykhailo Podolyak, a senior aide to the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, denied that Ukraine was behind the blast in Rostov, tweeting: “Ukraine doesn’t interfere, but watches with pleasure …”