An explosion and fire broke out at the Avangard polymer plant in Shakhty, Rostov Oblast, Russia, on Wednesday, injuring at least nine people, Russia’s state-controlled TASS reported. The factory, opened in June 2023, is Russia’s first polyester plant.
A string of Ukrainian drone attacks has taken place on Russian factories connected to the war effort in recent months; however, this incident has no confirmation of a drone attack.
Russia’s Ministry of Emergency Situations specified that the fire broke out in the Gidroprivod settlement of Shakhty. They reported that a workshop producing fillers for mattresses and pillows was on fire.
The Russian Telegram channel Mash, citing local residents, wrote that an explosion was heard before the fire. There is no official information yet on the causes of the fire. Mash wrote that the preliminary cause of the fire was “a short circuit.” People in nearby buildings claim that it blew out their windows. Baza TG channel also reports about an internal explosion, citing witnesses.
However, the Telegram channel Rospartisan, a resource of the Russian partisan movement, pointed out that a short circuit cannot cause such an explosion as observed in the video.
According to Rospartizan, the explosion at the factory in Shakhty is a partisan operation that had an important military significance. The channel writes the workshop destroyed by the explosion was not producing “mattresses and pillows” but FPV drones, crucial for Russia’s war against Ukraine. They were produced by a private company that rented the shop and cooperates with the Russian Ministry of Defense.
“According to our information, the explosion destroyed between one hundred and two hundred FPV drones,” Rospartisan wrote.
Later, Vasily Golubev, governor of Rostov Oblast, said the explosion and fire injured nine people: one was given medical assistance on site, three people suffered burns, and five others had injuries of varying degrees.
According to him, the fire affecting an area of 360 square meters was extinguished at 12:49.
Avangard is Russia’s first plant for the production of polyester staple fiber; it was opened in June 2023. The head of the region called it an “import-substituting production facility.”
Recent Ukrainian drone strikes on Russian objects: