Lithuania has no information about a reported accident at the nitrogen plant in Grodno, a Belarusian city some 40 kilometres from the Lithuanian border, Environment Minister Kęstutis Trečiokas said on Thursday.

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© DELFI / Mindaugas Ažušilis

Citing reports by local residents on social media, Belarusian media outlets said that an accident had occurred at the plant on Thursday morning. If confirmed, this would be the second major accident at the facility over the past ten days. The Belarusian utility has denied any incidents.

"There is a rumour, I do not know the specifics," Trečiokas told BNS, adding that relevant institutions were working to clarify the situation.

Kęstutis Vaškelevičius, spokesman for Lithuania's foreign minister, also said that the ministry had no official information on the matter.

"We have no official information about a possible incident," Vaškelevičius told BNS.

The head of the Alytus region Environment Department, Stasys Vanagas, told BNS he had not yet heard about the latest incident, adding that experts would conduct tests.

Water samples will be taken from the River Nemunas originating in Belarus, and results will be available on Monday, he said, adding that no pollutants were discovered after last week's explosion at the plant.

According to the Belarusian media, the plant's leadership has notified the staff about a leak of nitrogen or some other hazardous substance, the local population has been advised to keep their windows closed and stay indoors. The Grodno plant told the media that no incident occurred.

The company later said on its website that planned technical repairs were conducted at the nitrogen and liquid nitrogen fertilizer section of the plant at 9 AM on June 16, and some of the equipment came to a halt and caused gas leak in the premises, but concentration of the hazardous substances did not increase in the plant's territory or around it.

An explosion killed two people at the plant last week. Belarus then acknowledged the incident but said no chemical substances had entered the environment.

BNS
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