The net (i.e. the Facebook newsfeed of your Uncle Louie) is abuzz with reports that a tactical nuclear weapon was detonated in war-torn Donetsk, Ukraine, with videos showing a bright flash followed by a rising mushroom cloud in the distant. The videos appear to be real, but they're not showing a nuclear reaction.
Here are the videos:
What you're actually looking at is reportedly a chemical plant. Rebels claim that the chemical plant was hit by Ukrainian Army shelling and so far Ukraine is not denying it. Luckily, the plant was apparently totally vacant at the time of the detonation and the resulting fire, so aside from some frayed nerves nobody was hurt.
Living in a war zone has its risks, and secondary explosions are certainly one of them.
The conflict between Russian-backed seperatists and the Ukrainian Government has heated up significantly in recent weeks, despite multiple supposed ceasefires. Over 5,000 have died in the fighting since it began and there is very little diplomatic good will left between Russia and the US.. regarding the matter.
Just today, President Obama was quoted saying "Russia has violated every commitment in Ukraine" while meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel at the White House. There is growing pressure for the U.S. to arm the Ukrainian government as a way to deter further Russian aggression, but President Obama has stated that he is not willing to go that far, yet. Some EU members see such a move as a form of escalation and state that it would do little to stop the Russian military from pressing through the entirety of Ukraine, should that be Moscow's goal.
Meanwhile, the EU has now delayed further sanctions on Russia for at least one week, to give negotiations for a verifiable ceasefire another shot. If those negotiations fail, another round of heavy economic sanctions against key Russian individuals and corporations could usher in an even deeper decline in Russia's economy, which is already on the verge of collapse.
Not a lot of good news here, but hey, at least the nuclear genie didn't escape his bottle right?
Tyler Rogoway is a defense journalist and photographer who maintains the website Foxtrot Alpha for Jalopnik.com You can reach Tyler with story ideas or direct comments regarding this or any other defense topic via the email address Tyler@Jalopnik.com