Mystery Fog Near Moscow: Why City Smells Like Burned Popcorn

PHOTO: Moscow is pictured in this file photo. Izzet Keribar/Getty Images
Moscow is pictured in this file photo.

For much of the day, Moscow has smelled like a mixture of sulfur and burned popcorn.

Russia’s Emergencies Ministry eventually said the cause was a leak at a sulfur dioxide processor at an oil refinery outside town, according to Russian media reports.

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While Muscovites vexed about safety and searched for answers on social media, authorities were initially silent. They then suggested people stay indoors, before insisting the vapors are harmless.

The Emergencies Ministry said that while the amount of hydrogen sulfide in the air was above acceptable levels for a short while, levels of sulfur dioxide are within the acceptable range.

Gazprom Neft, which runs the plant, however, reportedly denied there was an accident.

Amid the conflicting and shifting statements, Moscow’s over 11.5 million residents have been left wondering who to believe.

Near the plant, a thick, hazy cloud hung in the air. A local resident posted this video, complaining that they suffer from these kinds of emissions often.