Eight killed in fire at Moscow research centre

The Avtorska Shkola Boyko school in Kharkiv suffered an airstrike with a Russian UMPK KAB 250 guided bomb.
The Avtorska Shkola Boyko school in Kharkiv suffered an airstrike with a Russian UMPK KAB 250 guided bomb.

Two people jumped to their deaths from the top floors of a burning building linked to the production of Russian weaponry, and at least six others have died in the fire, state-owned Tass news agency reported.

The blaze broke out on Monday at the nine-storey Platan research institute building in the town of Fryazino, a scientific hub in the suburbs of Moscow that falls under US sanctions for producing parts for fighter jets and nuclear launches.

It follows a string of sabotage attempts inside Russia and in Europe targeting firms linked to the war effort on both sides of the conflict.

Footage showed a high-rise block ravaged by flames, with smoke billowing out. Close-up images showed workers who appeared to be trapped as the flames grew higher.

Andrei Vorobyov, Moscow’s regional governor, said one person had been rescued from the inferno. He later added: “It is known for sure that while trying to escape, two men jumped out of the window – unfortunately, they died.”

Footage showed people smashing windows as they tried to escape the flames rising from the first floor.

People were seen smashing windows as they tried to escape
People were seen smashing windows as they tried to escape

The Caution News Telegram channel published footage of a man waving to rescuers from a window of the burning building.

“One of the victims, a 34-year-old man, is in serious condition in intensive care… he was connected to a ventilator,” Mr Vorobyov said. “Two firefighters sought medical attention due to combustion poisoning.”

The official later added: “The fate of the two women who were on the eighth floor is being clarified. There is one person in the hospital – a 34-year-old man, now on a ventilator.”

Platan, a producer of electronic components for Russia’s ministry of defence, has been under US sanctions since June 2022 for producing what Washington described as “pigments and dyestuff” used by the armed forces.

An archived version of its website suggests the institute has produced parts for Russian fighter jets, nuclear launch munitions, its advanced S-400 air-defence system and various guided munitions.

But Roselectronica, part of the Rostec defence conglomerate, sought to distance themselves from the building, saying its Platan research institute had not been based there since the 1990s, according to Tass news agency.

“Currently, a significant part of Platan’s premises is leased,” an anonymous source told the outlet.

“In particular, there’s a recording studio, shops, communication companies, a bank, construction companies and others. The fire could have started in one of the rented premises.”

Its report, citing an employee of Express Tech Service, which rents an office on the sixth floor of the building, said the fire had started there.

Mr Vorobyov said the blaze had been triggered by oxygen tanks belonging to one of the 30 companies that is based in the building.

More than 130 people and 50 pieces were involved in the effort to extinguish the blaze that had spread to 5,000 square metres by 7.30pm Moscow time, he added.

The nine-storey Platan research institute building near Moscow was ravaged by flames
The nine-storey Platan research institute building near Moscow was ravaged by flames - AFP

The blaze was the latest in a string of unexplained fires at facilities linked to Russia’s armed forces since Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Recently, a fire broke out at the Moscow-based Sukhoi Design Bureau, which is responsible for the production of many of the country’s most advanced military jets.

In April, a blaze was reported at the Avangard military plant, the only known producer of S-300 surface-to-air missiles.

Ukraine has never claimed credit for these incidents, although Kyiv’s spy chief, Major-General Kyrylo Budanov, has admitted to sanctioning covert operations inside Russia.

Last year, he said acts of sabotage were “almost 100 per cent by citizens of the Russian Federation”.

Russia has also taken to carrying out overseas raids on Nato countries that have supported Ukraine.

Mysterious fires at a warehouse in east London, an Ikea in Lithuania and a shopping centre in Poland triggered warnings from Western officials of state-backed sabotage.

A large fire at an arms factory in Berlin last month was likely caused by Russians trying to disrupt weapon deliveries to Kyiv, intelligence officials believe.

06:50 PM BST

That’s all for now

Thanks for following our coverage today. This live blog is now closed.

06:49 PM BST

Unconfirmed reports: Seven dead in fire

Baza, a Telegram channel with links to the Russian security services, reports that at least seven people were killed in the research building fire outside Moscow. The claim has not been independently verified.

06:34 PM BST

Criminal investigations begin into fire

Andrey Vorobyov said that an investigative team is on the scene in Fryazino and working to establish the cause of the fire.

“A criminal case has been opened. The prosecutor’s office is establishing the circumstances of the fire,” he said.

06:16 PM BST

Moscow Governor: Two women were on floor where fire broke out

The fate of two women who were on the eighth floor of the research building when it burst into flames is currently unknown, Moscow’s governor has said.

Andrey Vorobyov said that a 34-year-old man had been taken to hospital and was on a ventilator.

The fire has spread to 5,000 square metres and could engulf the entire building, Mr Vorobyov wrote on Telegram, adding that oxygen tanks had triggered explosions and caused ceilings to collapse.

“There is an elevator shaft in the central part of the building,” he said. “The ducts were positioned in such a way that they accelerated the fire.”

06:05 PM BST

Fire is now ‘localised’, according to reports

The fire at the research centre near Moscow is being contained, according to Russian media. Local news wires, citing the Ministry of Emergency Situations, say that it has been “localised”.

However, this appeared to be contradicted by Andrey Vorobyov, the governor of Moscow, who recently said there was a “threat” of the fire “spreading to the entire building”.

06:02 PM BST


Hello and welcome to the live blog if you’re just joining us. Benedict Smith here. We’ll continue to bring you all the latest updates from the fire at the research centre near Moscow.

05:42 PM BST

Burning building linked to Western-sanctioned research institute

The eight-storey building that is currently burning near Moscow is linked to a Western-sanctioned scientific research institute in the Moscow region, according to local authorities.

Andrei Vorobyov, the governor of the Moscow region, said the fire had engulfed a building belonging to the Platan research institute.

Platan, a producer of defence electronics, has been under US sanctions since June 2022 for producing and distributing “pigments and dyestuff” used by the military, according to the Moscow Times.

Roselectronica, the electronics components producer that is part of the defence conglomerate Rostec, told the state-run Tass news agency that its Platan research institute has not been based in the burning building since it became private property in the 1990s.

05:31 PM BST

Watch: People seen trapped inside floors engulfed by flames and smoke

05:25 PM BST

Blaze started by gas cylinder explosion, Tass reports

Tass, the state-run Russian news agency, has reported that the blaze at a research centre near Moscow was caused by the explosion of a gas cylinder.

The agency said that an emergency management service reported an explosion inside the building, and said it was caused by a gas cylinder.

At least eight people have died in the fire, which is raging across an estimated 4,500 square meters of the building between the fifth and seventh floors.

03:56 PM BST

Pictured: Emergency services at the Moscow defence building fire

Fire and smoke billow from a burning research building in Fryazino near Moscow, June 24
Fire and smoke billow from a burning research building in Fryazino near Moscow, June 24 - GOVERNOR OF MOSCOW REGION/REUTERS

03:41 PM BST

Hungary looking to challenge EU over frozen Russian assets

Hungary’s foreign minister has said a legal team in Brussels is looking for ways of challenging an EU decision to use funds from frozen Russian assets to buy weapons for Ukraine.

The statement came after Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, said the bloc would use a legal loophole to overturn Hungary’s veto on the plan.

“This money cannot get stuck, it has to be used and we have a legal procedure to avoid any kind of blockage,” Mr Borrell said at a press briefing in Luxembourg.

On Monday, EU member states approved a €1.4 billion (£1.2 billion) lethal aid package for Kyiv, using the assets. Mr Borrell said it would be released as early as next week and added that a second tranche of €1.1 billion (£930 million) was being readied.

03:07 PM BST

Zelensky orders SBU purge after assassination plots

Volymyr Zelensky has ordered the new head of Ukraine’s security service (SBU) to clear out those not committed to Ukraine and who “discredit” the agency.

The Ukrainian president made the comments while introducing Colonel Oleksiy Morozov to staff on Monday. Mr Morozov had been named as the new head of the service on Friday.

The move comes after the SBU said in May that it had caught two of its serving officers cooperating with Russia and plotting the assassination of Mr Zelensky and other leading officials.

01:51 PM BST

MoD marks 1 year since Prigozhin’s march on Moscow

The Ministry of Defence has marked one year since Yevgeny Prigozhin, the now deceased former leader of the Wagner Group, led his private army in a march on Moscow against the Russian military leadership.

Prigozhin initially promised that he would “go to the end” and that his soldiers would “destroy everything that gets in the way”. However, the march was stood down down after Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, brokered a truce between the Kremlin and the then Wagner leader.

Prigozhin died in a mysterious plane crash two months after his attempted coup.

01:13 PM BST

63-year-old woman killed in Russian strike on key Donetsk town

A Russian strike on the town of Toretsk killed a 63-year-old woman and injured a 64-year-old man, local officials said.

“The city came under attack around 10am today,” Vadym Filashkin, the regional governor said, adding that a house was hit and the wounded man had been taken to hospital.

Toretsk is a strategically important town in the Bakhmut region of Donetsk and only around six miles from Shumy, which was reportedly captured by Russian forces on Friday.

Mr Filashkin has urged remaining residents to flee, writing “do not risk your life and health! Evacuate!” on his Telegram channel.

12:36 PM BST

Russian missile strike kills 4 in Pokrovsk

A Russian missile strike on the eastern Ukrainian town of Pokrovsk killed four people and injured over 30 others, the region’s governor said.

Local media reports that two children age 12 and 13 were severely injured.

According to regional officials, Russia attacked the town with two Iskander missiles, destroying one house and damaging a a further 16.

Pokrovsk is around 40 miles from the Russian-controlled city of Donetsk and around 19 miles from the villages of Novooleksandrivka and Yevhenivka, where fierce fighting is ongoing.

12:08 PM BST

Russia summons US ambassador over Sevastopol missile strike

Russia has summoned the US ambassador to its foreign ministry over what it said was Washington’s “responsibility” for a Ukrainian missile strike that hit a Sevastopol beach on Sunday and killed at least four people, including two children.

The incident occurred after Russian air defence intercepted the missiles, spraying shrapnel over sunbathers on a beach close to a Russian air base.

The Russian foreign ministry said it told Lynne Tracy, the US envoy, that Washington “bears equal responsibility with the Kyiv regime for this atrocity” and that the strike would “not go unpunished”.

Moscow claimed on Saturday that Western personnel are responsible for the intelligence, guidance and target setting for Atacms missiles.

The US has previously said that Ukraine can only use US-supplied long-range missiles to strike targets deeper inside Russia if it is acting in self-defence.

11:55 AM BST

Explainer: The Crimean space communications centre

The NIP-16 space communications complex, which Ukraine is thought to have hit with an Atacms missile strike, is a Soviet-era facility that can extend communications 186 million miles into deep space.

It was abandoned by Russia in 1992 after the collapse of the USSR, however Moscow regained control of the centre after the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and placed it under the command of its Aerospace Defence Forces.

It is said to be particularly important for military satellite communications, as Crimea’s location and clear weather expands the range of transmissions.

11:41 AM BST

Pictured: Fires at site of suspected Ukrainian Atacms strike on Russian space control centre

Ukrainian is said to have struck the Russian NIP-16 space tracking and communication center in Vitino, Crimea with Atacms missiles
Ukrainian is said to have struck the Russian NIP-16 space tracking and communication center in Vitino, Crimea with Atacms missiles - X

10:42 AM BST

Pictured: Smoke billows from buildings after Russian strike on Odesa

Local residents stand at the site of a Russian missile strike on Odesa, June 24
Local residents stand at the site of a Russian missile strike on Odesa, June 24 - Serhii Smolientsev/REUTERS
Firefighters work at the site of the Odesa strike, June 24
Firefighters work at the site of the Odesa strike, June 24 - REUTERS

10:15 AM BST

EU cracks down on Russia’s ‘shadow fleet’

We reported earlier that the EU had agreed a new round of sanctions against Russia (see our post at 9:01am).

Further details of the package have now emerged, including a crack down on Russia’s “shadow fleet” of oil tankers sneaking Moscow’s oil and ammunition to ports across the world.

The Kremlin has used its “shadow fleet” of aging ships, which lack proper insurance and have opaque ownership, to circumvent the sanctions regime.

Now, however, the EU said it intends to make identifying and designating the ships easier, adding that 27 vessels have already been listed.

The move comes after the UK issued the first sanctions on the “shadow fleet”, also known as the “dark fleet”, in early June.

09:44 AM BST

Pictured: The aftermath of a Russian strike on a Kharkiv school

A school in Kharkiv hit by a Russian UMPK KAB 250 guided bomb on June 23
The Avtorska Shkola Boyko school in Kharkiv, which was hit by a Russian UMPK KAB 250 guided bomb on June 23 - Jose Hernandez/Shutterstock/Shutterstock

09:35 AM BST

Ukrainian security service arrests Russian ‘mole’

Ukraine has arrested a ‘mole’ in its armed forces who passed on information to Russia, Kyiv’s state security service (SBU) has said.

The SBU alleges that the man provided details of Ukraine’s border fortifications with Belarus, as well as coordinates for military storage facilities, to his Russian handlers.

Kremlin agents promised the man safe passage to Russian-controlled regions of Ukraine, the SBU said.

A photo released by the security service shows the accused in Ukrainian military uniform being led by the arm by two masked SBU officers.

The man is currently in custody charged with treason and faces life in prison if convicted, the SBU said.

09:01 AM BST

EU agrees new sanctions against Russia

The EU on Monday agreed a new package of sanctions against Russia over its war in Ukraine.

The bloc’s 14th round of sanctions against Moscow includes a ban on reloading Russian liquefied natural gas in the EU for further shipment to third countries.

It also offers the EU more tools to crack down on circumvention of sanctions, as well as targeting an additional 116 Russian individuals and entities.

Josep Borrell, the EU’s top diplomat, said: “The 14th package of sanctions demonstrates our unity in supporting Ukraine and seeking to limit Russia’s criminal activities against Ukrainians, including efforts to circumvent EU measures.”

08:52 AM BST

Ukraine denies that Russia has taken contested village

The Ukrainian 110th Separate Mechanised Brigade has denied reports that Russian forces have captured the village of Novooleksandrivka.

In a statement issued early on Monday, the Brigade said that claims of the settlement’s capture “do not correspond with reality”.

The military acknowledged that a significant part of Novooleksandrivka had been occupied, but that Russian forces do not fully control the village.

The comments came after information published by Deep State UA, a Ukrainian open-source intelligence network, indicated that the settlement had fallen to Moscow’s troops.

Novooleksandrivka is on the Pokrovsk front, which has seen intense fighting in recent days. On Sunday morning, Ukraine’s general staff said that the area had accounted for over half of all combat actions recorded over the previous 24 hours.

08:32 AM BST

Russian strike injures 3 in Odesa

A Russian strike on Ukraine’s southern city of Odesa hit civilian infrastructure and injured at least three people on Monday morning, Oleh Kiper, the region’s governor, said.

A 19-year-old boy and two middle-aged men were taken to hospital, Mr Kiper added

Ukraine’s interior ministry published pictures of a massive cloud of smoke rising from the site, where emergency services were working to put out a fire.

The air force had warned the city’s residents of the threat of incoming missiles before the explosions sounded.