Fighting against Russian troops is still raging in northern Ukraine and, in the town of Novosselytsya, an ammonia leak forced residents to take shelter urgently on Monday, March 21. Caused by a bombardment near a factory producing fertilizer, the incident was contained.
The Sumykhimprom company produces several types of chemical fertilizers, and the ammonia leak was detected at the heart of its facilities, according to the governor of the Sumy region, Dmytro Zhyvytsky. Immediately, Ukrainians residing within a 2.5 km zone around the plant were ordered to take shelter to avoid exposure.
The origin of the bombardment not specified
“Ammonia is lighter than air, wrote the governor on Telegram messaging. This is why shelters, cellars and the lower floors must be used as protection”. Stating that the rescue teams were already on the scene, he added that the neighboring town of Sumy, which had around 250,000 inhabitants before the war, was not immediately threatened. The direction of the winds was favorable to him.
Later on Monday, around 7:45 GMT, the emergency services finally indicated on Twitter that the incident, caused by a bombardment whose origin was not specified, was “over”. In response, Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov accused “Ukrainian nationalists” of mining the plant. He claims it is a “provocation” by kyiv to accuse Moscow of “use of chemical weapons”.
In recent days, the Russian government has multiplied these kinds of allegations. On Sunday evening, the Russian Minister of Defense for example assured that kyiv was seeking to “massively poison the inhabitants of the Sumy region”, currently still under the control of Ukrainian troops, if the “units of the Russian armed forces” managed to enter in the city.
At the same time, Russia denies having helped Syria to use chemical weapons during attacks against its population, or to have used chemical substances against its opponents. Alexei Navalny and former Russian agent Sergei Skripal, as well as his daughter Yulia, were notably victims of poisoning.