Russia Hits Nitric Acid Tank, Unleashes Deadly Gas Into Surrounding Area

Russian troops appear to have hit a nitric acid tank in Ukraine, according to a statement made by Luhansk regional administrator Serhiy Haidai on Telegram.

Haidai warned that Russian forces hit the tank in Rubizhne, a city in the Luhansk Oblast, and called for residents to remain hidden in bomb shelters.

"Do not come out of hiding! If you are indoors - close the doors and windows!" he wrote on Telegram.

He then went on to explain the dangerous effect of nitric acid on people. "Nitric acid is dangerous if inhaled, swallowed and in contact with skin," he wrote.

"Acid fumes are irritating to the respiratory tract."

Exposure to nitric acid can cause irritation to the eyes, skin and mucous membranes when inhaled, swallowed or touched.

Haidai warned against bronchitis, dizziness and drowsiness, which usually follow exposure to mild levels of nitric acid. Under heavier exposure, it's likely for people to develop pulmonary edema, he wrote, adding that it can also cause vision loss when it gets in the eyes.

In severe cases, ingestion of high doses of nitric acid can lead to death.

"Gas masks are used to protect against nitric acid vapors and mists. Prepare wet face masks!" Haidai added.

In a following post, Haidai offered advice on first aid in case of exposure. "If nitric acid gets into the eyes, rinse them under running water for 10-30 minutes," he wrote.

"In case of contact with skin - wash the affected area with water, adding baking soda or soap. When swallowing nitric acid, gastric lavage with plenty of water is indicated."

"Close doors and windows!" Haidai then urged in a later post on Telegram.

The incident hasn't yet been confirmed by either the Ukrainian or Russian armed forces, and it hasn't been independently verified by Newsweek or other media.

Luhansk is one of the two breakaway regions, together with Donetsk, that declared their independence from Kyiv in 2014, self-proclaiming themselves "People's Republics."

Luhansk and Donetsk were recognized as independent states by Russian President Vladimir Putin before his troops launched their invasion of Ukraine.

In a message published on Tuesday morning on Telegram, Haidai wrote that since the beginning of the invasion 146 people have died in the Luhansk region and more than 500 civilians have been injured. "These terrible numbers change every day," he wrote.

After the Kremlin announced a change in strategy in its campaign in Ukraine, it's expected that Russian troops will focus on Luhansk and Donetsk and launch a new offensive there to achieve the "complete liberation" of Donbas.

Tank Luhansk explosion
A photo shared by Luhansk regional administrator Serhiy Haidai on Telegram shows smoke rising from an unidentified object. Haidai claims the image shows the fuming tank containing nitric acid hit by Russian troops near Rubizhne. Serhiy Haidai via Telegram