LUGANSK, June 1. /TASS/. Ukrainian troops blew up a chemical storage tank at the Azot plant in Severodonetsk in an attempt to hold back Donbass forces advancing in the area, the people’s militia of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) said on Tuesday.
"In order to create obstacles for successful advancement of our forces, units of the Ukrainian armed forces, withdrawing from the industrial zone of Severodonetsk, made an attempt to create a zone of chemical pollution and blew up a chemical storage tank at the Azot plant, presumably containing nitric acid," the militia’s press service said in its official Telegram channel.
The blast was designed to send a cloud of toxic chemicals towards Rubezhnoye and Kremennaya, earlier liberated with the support of the Russian armed forces, the LPR Militia said.
"This provocation was another link in the long chain of crimes, committed by the Kiev regime against the people of Ukraine," it said.
According to the statement, Ukrainian troops tried to blow up chemical storage tanks with toxic chemicals in Rubezhnoye twice in April.
"The fact that those provocations would result in numerous civilian casualties does not stop them," the LPR Militia said.
It also rejected Ukrainian media claims that LPR forces were allegedly responsible for the blast in Severodonetsk.
"We ask the people of Severodonetsk and nearby populated areas to stay calm and not to panic. The people’s militia is taking all measures to deal with the aftermath of this crime, committed by the Kiev regime," the statement says.
Ambassador of the Lugansk People’s Republic (LPR) Rodion Miroshnik said earlier in the day a container with chemicals had been blown up at the Azot chemical works in Severodonetsk, controlled by Ukrainian troops. The privately-owned Severodonetsk Azot Association is one of the largest chemical enterprises in Ukraine. The plant in Severodonetsk is the only facility within the association that produces acetic acid, methanol and vinyl acetate. The enterprise employs around 7,000 people.