Over 45 Injured After Massive Explosion Hits Military Optics Plant Near Moscow

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by Tyler Durden
Wednesday, Aug 09, 2023 - 01:30 PM

On Wednesday a Russian factory northeast of Moscow erupted into a massive explosion of unknown cause, injuring at least 45 people, and causing damage to surrounding buildings. Some are in serious condition.

It happened at the Zagorsk optical-mechanical plant in the city of Sergiev Posad, and while there were overnight reports of another drone attack from Ukraine on the capital city being thwarted, TASS and other state sources are saying it was an accident. 

Russia's federal investigative agency has launched a criminal probe over "violation of industrial safety requirements for hazardous production facilities," but acknowledged it is still assessing the cause of the blast.

The plant develops and produces optical and optoelectronic devices for the Russian military and law enforcement, along with other industries including healthcare. It reportedly produces night-vision goggles and scopes for Russia's armed forces.

CNN and others are citing state sources to say it was an industrial accident linked to a pyrotechnic warehouse:

The source of the detonation was a pyrotechnics warehouse rented by a third company on the site of the plant, RIA Novosti said, citing local authorities. It described the incident as a violation of technological processes.

The blast was not caused by unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – military drones that Ukrainian and Russian forces have both used to launch strikes on enemy territory – according to preliminary information, TASS reported.

Certainly there were plenty of area residents which likely believed they were under attack by new Ukrainian drone strikes, given the uptick in drone operations targeting the capital of late. 

Dramatic video of the explosion showed a huge mushroom cloud of gray smoke rising high above the city, with onlookers in shock as emergency vehicles fled to the scene. 

Some Ukrainian sources are alleging it was an attack and not an 'accident'...

The final word thus far from Russian authorities is that a "human factor" was to blame, but the definitive cause had not been given within hours of the incident. 

Industrial accidents happen, but an explosion this large is naturally resulting in much speculation over whether this was actually a drone attack or sabotage, especially given the plant developed difficult to produce military tech. If it was an attack, Moscow would have reason to conceal it, given such a direct hit deep inside Moscow's military-industrial sector would show Russian air defenses to be weak.