World's largest ammonia pipe spews poison gas into air in Ukraine 'as Russian shelling bursts line' after dam disaster | The SunJune 7, 2023
THE world's largest ammonia pipe has burst spewing a poisonous cloud into the air in Ukraine.
Dramatic footage appears to show the rupture in the pipeline near the village of Masiutovka in the Kharkiv region, thought to have been caused by Russian shelling.
It comes just a day after the destruction of the Nova Kakhovka dam on the banks of the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine that has sparked catastrophic flooding fears.
Russia and Ukraine have both blamed each other for attacking the ammonia pipeline – as they did over the dam's destruction.
The site of the alleged pipeline attack is in the "grey zone" between the warring sides.
The pipeline stretches from 1,534 miles from Russia’s Togliatti on the Volga River to three Black Sea ports.
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If the break is confirmed, any toxic gases released pose a major health threat that could potentially be fatal.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said plans were underway to evacuate people from three Ukrainian-controlled villages on the frontline.
He suggested the ammonia pipeline had been damaged by artillery fire from the Russians.
He drew a distinction between the "terrorism" of the dam explosion and the "consequences of war" in the ammonia pipeline rupture.
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"In the grey zone one weapon or another could have been used – most likely, artillery," he said.
"It's one story when it is the consequences of war. Yes, the Russian Federation is to blame, but those are the consequences of war.
"But [in Kakhovka], we understand that this is terrorism. They mined it in advance and did it with their own hands.
"We see this as a completely different category."
The pipe has been out of operation since Putin’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.
Oleh Sinehubov, the governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, said there had been no recorded pollution from a pipe rupture as of late Tuesday.
"There is no threat to people's lives and health,” he posted.
The footage was first published by Moscow-appointed official Daniil Bezsonov, deputy information minister in the occupied Donetsk People’s Republic.
He is believed to have links to the Russian secret services.
State media RIA Novosti war correspondent Alexander Kharchenko said: "Due to the direction of the wind, the ammonia went towards Ukrainian positions.
“One fighter was definitely killed, several were taken to hospital with poisoning.
“In addition, the Ukrainian offensive in this area was postponed because of the ammonia.”
The Russians see the pipeline as crucial to restarting a grain and fertiliser export deal with Ukraine despite the war.
The alleged attack follows the destruction of a key hydroelectric dam in Nova Kakhovka that collapsed on Tuesday.
It is estimated 18 million cubic meters of water (4.8billion gallons) could come pouring from the breached dam towards the city of Kherson, triggering flooding fears for 80 towns and villages.
Residents of southern Ukraine are bracing for a second day of swelling floodwaters as authorities warned that a Dnieper River dam breach would continue to unleash pent-up waters from a giant reservoir and waters are expected to rise further.
Both sides have blamed the other – but suspicions firmly lie with the Russians who are believed to have planted bombs on the dam.
Footage circulating on social media shows residents sloshing through knee-deep waters in their inundated homes as rescue workers carry people to safety.
In Ukrainian-controlled areas on the western side, Oleksandr Prokudin, the head of Kherson Regional Military administration, said in a video that water levels were expected to rise by another three feet over the next 20 hours.
He said that the intensity of floods is slightly decreasing; however, due to the significant destruction of the dam, the water will keep coming.
The dam provides power for the region and water to help cool the nearby Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
Government and UK officials have warned of a human and ecological disaster whose repercussions will take days to assess and far longer to recover from.
Speaking to The Sun Online, Colonel Hamish de Bretton-Gordon blasted Putin for essentially turning a Ukrainian power plant into a makeshift nuclear bomb.
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He warned there could be catastrophic consequences if the dam explosion interferes with the plant’s essential water or power supplies.
Blowing up the dam shows “escalation and desperation” by the Russians, he said, and he called for immediate international involvement to secure ZNPP.
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