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Five Dead In Ukrainian Arms-Depot Blasts

7 May 2004 -- A series of explosions at a munitions depot near the southeastern town of Melitopol in Ukraine has killed at least five people and injured nine.

Ukraine's Emergency Situations Ministry said today that the blasts late yesterday have left the depot blazing. Sporadic explosions continue.

Ukrainian officials said the fire will be difficult to extinguish. It is at a depot where quantities of munitions inherited from the former Soviet Union were stocked.

Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk said that Russia is sending a specialist team to help combat the blaze. The United States has also offered help.

Ukrainian President Leonid Kuchma has ordered the Prosecutor-General's Office and the nation's security service to set up a commission to investigate the blasts' cause.