DONETSK, Ukraine (Reuters) - A director of a mine in a rebel-held part of east Ukraine has been arrested over a blast that killed 34 miners last week, separatist press service DAN reported on Monday, quoting prosecutors.
The man, who was not named, was detained on suspicion of “violating mining rules” at the Zasyadko site in the city of Donetsk, said DAN which is seen as the official news agency for rebel forces.
Mine officials have said Wednesday’s explosion was most likely caused by a build-up of gas and not fighting in the war between the Moscow-backed separatist rebels and Ukraine government forces.
There was no immediate comment from the mine or any lawyer representing the director.
“The court arrested the director of the company ... He has not yet been charged — he is seen as a suspect,” DAN quoted the separatist prosecutor’s office as saying.
Coal mining, one of the main employers in eastern Ukraine, is dangerous at the best of times. But keeping the pits open at the frontline during war has made it far riskier.
The explosion happened close to a frontline in the fighting and Kiev suggested the war had made the disaster worse, accusing the separatists of holding up a rescue effort by restricting access. The rebels dismissed the allegation.
Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Andrew Heavens