According to Mark Tobias, U.S. military expert, the full process of unexploded shell disposal in the town of Arys, the Turkestan region of Kazakhstan that became a site of a military arsenal incident in 2019, would require two or even three more years to be done, Interfax news agency reported.
American experts from Explosive Ordnance Disposal Mark Tobias and Gregory Ford had been engaged in an assessment work associated with the disposal of blind shells in Arys.
«There is a huge military warehouse with loads of unexploded artillery shells, so it may require more time. More likely, two or even three years,» said Tobias at the press briefing in the U.S. Embassy.
On June 24, 2019, due to a fire at the warehouse of the military base #44856, based in Arys, the incident occurred. There were about 50 explosions in total, according to Kazakhstan’s Ministry of Defense.
To avoid casualties, local authorities evacuated 45,000 people or almost all Arys residents. However, three citizens died during the incident and more than 400 were injured. The air blast destroyed or damaged about 90% of all houses in the town. All of them including some administrative buildings in Arys were rebuilt within several months. Many of those who participated in that work, including police officers and civilians from all over the country, were praised by President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev and received some decorations.
At the end of January, the Military Court of the city of Shymkent re-opened a case on the incident. According to lawyers of some victims, the investigation was made in contravention of the law, which is why the case shouldn’t have been closed.