An explosion occurred at the Grodno nitrogen factory in Belarus just 40 kilometres from the Lithuanian resort of Druskininkai on Monday, the fallout from which could pose an environmental threat to both Lithuania and Poland.
The Polish and Lithuanian governments fear an environmental disaster and are worried about finding out the truth about the accident given Minsk‘s policy of denying any incidents at its industrial facilities.
There are reports that two people were killed in the explosion at the Grodno plant and a number of workers were being treated for ammonia poisoning in hospital.
Stasys Vanagas, the head of the Alytus Regional Environmental Protection Department which supervises Druskininkai zone, said on Wednesday afternoon that Lithuanian environmental experts had no information on the disaster at the plant in Grodno.
“Under international law, a neighbouring state is obliged to inform us about such incidents, to provide laboratory measurements of both soil and water and air pollution concentration levels,” said Vanagas.
The local district government of Poland‘s Podlaski province, which is closest to Lithuanian state border, issued a statement on the explosion in Grodno and asked Belarusian representatives for information on atmospheric pollution after the accident which could put the citizens of Poland and Lithuania in danger.
Belarusian official media were then forced to admit the incident had occurred. However, both Grodno Azot and official Minsk representatives denied that the incident would have ecological or environmental consequences.