An explosion at a coal-mine in war-torn eastern Ukraine killed 32 workers Wednesday, the speaker of Ukraine’s parliament said. Rebels who control the area, however, confirmed only one death.
Volodymyr Groysman told lawmakers that the accident happened before dawn at a mine in the city of Donetsk, which is under the control of separatist rebels. It was unclear what the source was for Groysman’s information.
Separatist authorities in Donetsk said in a statement that the blast occurred at a depth of more than 1,000 meters and that 230 workers were in the mine at the time.
The statement said the explosion was caused by a mixture of gas and air _ a common cause of industrial mining accidents. Rebel authorities said the incident at the Zasyadko mine was not caused by shelling. Rescue operations are continuing and at least 157 workers have been evacuated from the mine, Donetsk rebel officials said.
“Fourteen people have been sent to medical treatment centers in Donetsk,” the rebel statement said. A chief doctor at a city clinic, Emil Fistal, was quoted as saying six miners were in grave condition. The east of Ukraine has been wracked by fighting between government forces and Russian-backed rebels for almost a year, during which more than 6,000 people have been killed.