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4000 children evacuated from Crimea town after chemical leak

MINSK, Belarus — About 4,000 children have been evacuated from a town in Russia-annexed Crimea where a noxious chemical leak has been blamed on a local titanium factory.

Residents of Armyansk complained in late August that a sour smell was pervading the community and a substance resembling rust had fallen on roofs, trees and vehicles.

Authorities this week decided to take children away from the town of 20,000 people for two weeks. They say the children are being housed at health resorts elsewhere in Crimea.

Russian media have not reported widespread illness or symptoms in Armyansk. The head of Ukraine’s adjacent Kherson region said Friday that 37 border guards have been hospitalized due to negative effects from the leak.

Crimea’s leader, Sergei Aksenov, identified the chemical as sulfur trioxide from the titanium plant.