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Russia Blames Ukraine for Key Ammonia Pipeline Detonation

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Moscow said Wednesday that a Ukrainian "sabotage" group had blown up the Tolyatti-Odesa pipeline that Russia used to export ammonia before the start of its 15-month offensive.

"A Ukrainian sabotage and reconnaissance group blew up the Tolyatti-Odesa ammonia pipeline" near the village of Masyutovka in the northeastern Kharkiv region on Monday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry said, adding that civilians had been injured.

Footage posted on social media showed white smoke coming out of the Tolyatti-Odesa pipeline, which is the world's longest ammonia pipeline and stretches roughly 2,500 kilometers. 

The ministry said that some civilians had been wounded, adding that "they received the necessary medical care."

Meanwhile, the governor of Ukraine’s Kharkiv region on Tuesday accused Russian forces of shelling the pipeline.

Emergency services “have been deployed” to the site, Oleh Sinehubov, the governor of Ukraine's Kharkiv region, said in a Telegram post.

The incident at the pipeline comes less than 48 hours after the Kakhovka dam, a critical dam on the Dnipro River, was destroyed, flooding nearby areas, and threatening the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia and Ukraine blamed each other for the dam's breach.

The pipeline stopped operating after Moscow sent troops to Ukraine in February 2022.

The resumption of Russia's ammonia exports through the link is one of Moscow's conditions to continue with the grain export deal, which allows safe passage for Ukrainian grain shipments.

Russia also has accused the West of blocking its exports of fertilizer, for which ammonia is a core component.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said Kyiv was "the only country that has never been interested in resuscitating the pipeline."

She accused Kyiv of "dealing a blow to UN efforts to combat world hunger" and said that if crews could access the site, it would take one to three months to repair the damage.

AFP contributed reporting.

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