Pipeline explosion in Russian-backed separatist city in Ukraine amid tensions: report

The incident happened in the separatist Russian-backed city of Lugansk in Ukraine. (Representative)

Kyiv:

An international oil pipeline running through a key rebel-held town in eastern Ukraine exploded on Friday, Russian media reported, with footage showing a ball of fire lighting up the night sky.

The blast rocked the Druzhba pipeline in the breakaway Russian-backed city of Lugansk, Russian news agency RIA Novosti reported.

The incident, the causes of which remain unclear, occurred during a sharp escalation in fighting that has heightened fears that Russia is preparing to invade Ukraine.

The Druzhba pipeline connects Russia with various points in Eastern and Central Europe.

Footage on social media showed a bright orange fireball lighting up the night sky.

Russian state media reported a second explosion in Lugansk less than an hour after the one that appeared to hit the pipeline.

Its causes were not immediately clear, but a social media account associated with Lugansk separatists said the second explosion hit a gas station on the outskirts of the city.

There were no immediate reports of casualties from either explosion.

The region around the city of Lugansk has seen some of its heaviest fighting since the start of the year over the past two days.

(This story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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