Russian forces on Tuesday reportedly struck a tank of nitric acid in Ukraine’s Luhansk region, sparking panicked warnings for residents to protect their faces and remain indoors.
Serhiy Gaidai, the head of the Luhansk regional administration, issued a video address warning residents the toxic fumes can cause “severe damage.”
“Prepare protective face masks soaked in soda solution. When applied locally to the eyes, nitric acid causes severe damage with extensive necrosis of the cornea and conjunctiva, leading to loss of vision,” he said, urging those living near Rubizhne to remain indoors and seal up their windows.
“This chemical is very toxic and we don’t know where the toxic cloud will go. We will be monitoring the air and waiting for rain,” he said.
In comments to Ukrainian media, Zelensky vowed that Ukrainian authorities would create an “internal mechanism” to track down the Russian soldiers accused of committing war crimes against Ukrainian civilians, much like Israel’s Mossad hunted down Nazi fugitives across the globe.
“We will definitely deal with this,” he said, adding that “lists will be compiled” of all those Russians accused of executing and torturing Ukrainian civilians. “There are people who really want to find these criminals,” he said.
“Prosecutors of various nations will deal with all of these crimes… They see a great deal of evidence. And, unfortunately, the evidence will only keep coming—there will not be any less. There is still Izyum ahead, and many places where there is still no access [for Ukrainian authorities]—the occupied Melitopol, Berdyansk—we have no idea what happened there,” he said.
His comments came as the scale of Russian atrocities in the town of Bucha, a Kyiv suburb, left the world reeling, with hundreds of innocent residents found slain in the streets, some with signs of torture. Newly released satellite footage from the now-liberated town showed that the bodies of slaughtered civilians had littered the streets for weeks before Ukrainian forces reclaimed the territory from Russia, debunking Moscow’s shameless claim that Putin’s troops didn’t kill “a single civilian” there and that it must have been Ukrainian forces.
Russia’s Defense Ministry has claimed the executions were “staged” by Ukrainian psy-ops specialists, a claim that was echoed in a full-blown propaganda campaign on Russian state TV that said Western intelligence services were behind the killings.
In the face of those Russian denials on Tuesday, Ukrainian media released aerial video that purportedly captures Russian troops in Bucha firing directly at a man who was simply riding past them on a bicycle.
Ukrainian journalist Dmytro Komarov also shared footage from Bucha showing the aftermath of Russia’s attacks on Ukrainian evacuees. He said at least three vehicles of civilians were found shot up along an evacuation route, including a bus with a young couple inside and a vehicle where an elderly couple were slain.