The strange epidemic


In 1978 in the village of Boleslavchik, where in June 2000 doctors fixed an outburst of a peculiar mass epidemic, some concrete constructions polluted with components of the rocket fuel had been buried. The local inhabitants immediately suspected the military. According to the materials published recently in the newspaper ‘Fakty’, more than 150 local citizens caught ‘an unexplained disease’, with 45 children among them. According to the information of the ‘Interfax Ukraine’ agency, the locals considers that the cause of the epidemic is highly toxic rocket fuel – heptyl. The local residents tell that in 1978 a rocket was buried in a mine situated in the village of Boleslavchik. The mine had to stay sealed during 50 years, but the village council permitted one of the families to get scrap metal from this mine. Eyewitnesses tell that about 50 metric tones of metal were extracted. When the mine was unsealed, eyewitnesses noticed that the metal emitted reddish-brown light, and dovecolored smoke. Besides, it smelled of hydrogen sulfide. In the beginning of June the first carrier of the unknown disease appeared. The symptoms were drowse, skin rash, loss of appetite, dry cough, faints and deteriorated vision. The local doctors found that their patients were poisoned with some chemical agent. Later the oblast sanitary epidemic station found that the drinking water in the wells was poisoned by nitrates 13 – 15 times compared to the permitted norm. All the wells in the village were closed, the water was provided in cisterns. But this did not improve the situation – the number of the infected continued to increase. Soon in the neighboring villages of Chausovo and Lysaya Gora patients appeared with the same symptoms. At first people accused the military because on 500 meters from the village of Boleslavchik there was a rocket mine. There, people thought, some accident happened hidden by the military. However, Vladimir Shapovalov, the commander of the center of liquidation of strategic weapons of the 43rd rocket army, declared that no accidents, which could cause the leakage of toxic fuel, near the village of Boleslavchik had happened since 1978. The fact that the military were not guilty was confirmed by the studies of carried out by Kharkiv research center of military ecology. Lidiya Myk-halskaya, the deputy director of the center, told to the newspaper ‘Fakty’ that they considered three sources of the intoxication: 1) a natural one, because of the natural pickling of soil; 2) man-caused, caused by the decomposition of the rocket fuel; 3) caused by the decomposition of organic proteins in the burial ground of cattle. As a result of the carried out investigations the first and third versions were rejected. ‘… We started to work at the second version, being sure that the solid fuel, which is now used in the army, does not leak’, said L. Mykhalskaya, ’but we learned that up to 1978 the foel oil had been used. The military carried away building constructions, which were somewhat contaminated, and buried them in a mine that is unsealed now. This mine has become the contamination source. These constructions were buried rather deep and covered with soil. More than twenty years passed, and no contamination occurred until the local scrap-seekers opened the mine by a bulldozer in search of nonferrous metals. Rains started in June and the pit was fully covered with rainwater that dissolved the contaminating element. It was not the rocket fuel, but the products of its decomposition. The poisoning substances got to the upper water-carrying layer. The poisoning substances that got into this layer are dissolved very slowly. Water must be taken from the layer 10 meters deep, whereas in the village the wells are 2 – 3 meter deep. Besides, the water here is polluted with nitrates, and it may not be drunk anyway. After the situation was explained to the local residents, they stopped drinking water from the wells, and the situation began to improve. So the Ukrainian rocket troops have no relation to the trouble. As to the military constructive workers, that buried the contaminated constructions near the village, their guilt is not clear now. The man who unsealed the mine is now under criminal investigation. The prosecutor of the Pervomaysk district started a criminal case about contamination of the environment. The defendant is not defined. The administration of the Nikolaev oblast gave some finances for treatment of the patients. The situation is explained to the population since there are many similar mines in the vicinity, which are dangerous to unseal. Ms Mykhalskaya, who appeared from the murky military medium, perhaps hurried with her discoveries. The real rocket-rush in Ukraine was connected with events of the cold war, and the construction ‘up to the 1978 and after 1978’ is simplified. The matter is that the 48th rocket division, that occupied territories of the town of Pervomaysk of the Nikolaev oblast, had been formed as long ago as in 1961. Since the causes of the present epidemic are not very clear, we shall list the division commanders: A. I. Kolotiy, G. D. Gavrilov, N. V. Lapshin, I. M. Shabelnik, I. D. Sergeev, Yu. P. Regentov, V. V. Goryntsev, V. G. Tolubko, N. M. Filatov, A. A. Ilyashov. The 43rd rocket army with headquarters in Vinnitsa, to which 46th division belongs, was created in 1960. We shall call its commanders too: G. M. Tupikov (1960 – 1961), P. B. Dankevich (1961 – 1962), A. G. Shevtsov (1962 – 1966), M. G. Grigoryev (1966 – 1968), A. D. Melekhin (1968 – 1974), Yu. P. Za-begaylov (1974 – 1975), V. G. Nedelin (1975 – 1982), A. P. Volkov (1982 – 1987), V. V. Kirilin (1987 – 1991), V. A. Mikhtiuk (since 1991). So, for the candidates to the guilty of the disaster we have concrete generals, and not mythical ‘military constructive workers’. Let us have a look which intercontinental ballistic rockets weer situated near the town of Pervomaysk starting from 1961. We do not know much about the first generation of intercontinental ballistic rockets (IBR). In Ukraine (as well as in the Lithuania, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Estonia and Russia) one-stage liquid-fuel rockets P-12 (SS-4, Sandal, according to the US classification) with a mono warhead were stationed. This rocket was in service still in 1959. All in all, there were 608 rockets of this type and some of them served up to 1990. The two-stage IBR of the second generation carried three warheads (SS-11 Sego) was also stationed in Ukraine. It was a very numerous type: in 1966 – 1972 there were 908 launching sites, in 1972 – 1977 were installed 420 launching sites. Twelve divisions were equipped by all types of this rocket. Such rockets were also stationed near the town of Pervomaysk, each division had from 50 to 120 mine launching sites. The fuel of such rockets was highly toxic heptyl, 45.3 metric tones of fuel for each rocket. The first in the USSR regiment of two-stage IBRs of the third generation named УР-100Н with six warheads (named in the West as SS-19 Stiletto) was installed near Pervomaysk in April 1975. All in all in 1975–78 there were 240 launching sites, in spite of the fact that not all constructive drawbacks were found and corrected during the summer tests; they were corrected in the process of further modernization. The first regiment with the modernized rockets УР-100Н started its duty in November 1979 near the town of Khmelnitsky. By 1983 all the defected rockets were exchanged for УР-100Н УТТХ. All in all, 360 rockets of this type were stationed in the USSR; half of them in Russia and half of them in Ukraine, near Pervomaysk and Khmelnitsky. The fuel was again the highly toxic heptyl, 93.1 metric tones for each rocket. The fourth-generation IBRs (SS-34 Scalpel) were installed in Ukraine too. These rockets used solid fuel. The first regiment of such rockets started its duty in August 1978 near Pervomaysk. They were put in the same mines, where liquid-fuel rockets had been installed. Thus, at the moment of signing the first agreement on the disarmament, the USSR had 300 liquid-fuel (heptyl) rockets, 130 of them were stationed in Ukraine: 40 launchers in Ukraine in four regiments of the 46th division near the town of Pervomaysk, 90 launchers in nine regiments of the 19th division near Khmelnitsky. Besides, 48 launchers of solid-fuel rockets were stationed near Pervomaysk, about which Ms Mykhalskaya kindly informed us. Tragic events, which occurred in the village of Boleslavchik, are connected with one of the later launchers (here one of the regiments of the 46th division was billeted), but the reader must be reminded that the solid-fuel rockets came to this locality not in 1978 during the rule of Brezhnev, but in 1988, under Gorbachev. Before this event on the land near the village of Boleslavchik, as well as other Ukrainian villages near which 46th and 19th divisions of the 43rd army, many liquid-fuel rickets of the first, second and third generations were stationed. So, if one wished to find a truth on the poi-soning of Ukrainian inhabitants with highly toxic rocket fuel heptyl, it would be worthless to turn to irresponsible people calling themselves ‘military ecologists’. The truth must be sought in quite an-other place, in the Ministry of Defense of Ukraine, where the former commander of the 43rd army V. A. Mikhtiuk is serving, and the Ministry of Defense of Russia, which is headed by the former commander of the 46th division I. Sergeyev. For those, who did not understand what relation to this story has the incarcerated I. Sutiagin, we explain that it was I. Sutiagin, who was one of the authors of a thick book titled ‘Strategic nuclear armament of Russia’ (Moscow, 1998, 480 p.). The data on all generations of Soviet rockets that used liquid highly toxic heptyl was analyzed in this book. This book was the official pretext for the incarceration of Sutiagin. If someone would like to turn to one of the security services of Russia or Ukraine for describing them the tragic facts, do not hurry. The matter is that the book partially written by I. Sutiagin there is NOT A SINGLE FACT, which had not been published before. Moreover, the main facts were taken from the official publication ‘A chronicle of main events in the history of rocket troop of strategic destination’ (Moscow, 1994). The editor-in-chief of this book was Marshal of Russia I. D. Sergeev, who had commanded the 46th division billeted near Ukrainian town of Pervomaysk.

Bulletin of the Union ‘For chemical security’

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