A Ukrainian chemical plant became the target of a Russian airstrike early Monday — triggering a terrifying evacuation as potentially deadly ammonia leaked for hours, local officials said.
The Sumy factory was hit just hours after at least eight died when a shopping center in the capital Kiev was demolished and as many as 80 foreign and Ukrainian troops were killed in a cruise missile attack on a military training center in Rivne, officials said.
“Warning! Ammoniaklek,” Dmytro Zhyvytsky, the regional governor of Sumy, warned just after 4 a.m. after the attack on the Sumykhimprom factory on the outskirts of the city that had about 263,000 people.
Those within a 3-mile radius of the factory were told to flee or take shelter in a closed-off area, with first aid tips for anyone affected.
Exposure to high concentrations of ammonia in the air “can lead to blindness, lung damage or death,” notes the New York Department of Health.
Once the emergency was lifted, Zhyvytsky said the leak was “a result of Russian enemy shelling” that hit a 50-ton tank containing the corrosive chemical. A factory worker was injured, but details were not disclosed.
Russian military spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed the leak was a “planned provocation” by Ukrainian forces to falsely accuse Russia of a chemical attack.
However, Ukraine’s foreign ministry said on Monday it “strongly condemns” the attack on the chemical plant and Russia for spreading “dirty” lies “as information concealment to commit more crimes”.
†We call on the world community to be vigilant to properly counter the next aggressive plans of the Russian war criminals,” the ministry said.
The Kremlin has also repeatedly denied attacking civilians during its so-called “military special operation”, but shocking footage showed a 10-storey shopping center in Kiev being completely destroyed overnight.
Dramatic surveillance footage shows a fireball erupting late Sunday from the Retroville shopping center in the capital’s Podil district, turning the sky orange with flames for hours.
At dawn, the 10-story mall was a complete shell as the entire area around it was completely bombarded and covered in debris.
An Agence France-Presse reporter saw at least six bodies in front of the mall, and Mayor Vitali Klitschko said at least eight people were confirmed dead.
At least six houses and four schools next to the mall were damaged in the attack, the mayor said, who imposed another curfew.
Military experts believe airstrikes on the capital have intensified over the apparent failure of Russia’s planned ground offensive.
Konashenkov, the Russian military spokesman, also said a nighttime cruise missile strike hit a Ukrainian military training center in the Rivne region. He said 80 foreign and Ukrainian troops were killed.
Vitaliy Koval, the head of Rivne’s regional military administration, confirmed a double Russian missile strike on a training center early Monday, but did not give details of injuries or deaths.
With Post wires