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

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

The Telegraph:  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

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An archived version of its website suggests the institute has produced parts for Russian fighter jets, nuclear launch munitions, its advanced S-400 air-defence system and various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

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