A presidential adviser says Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukranian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops
A presidential adviser says Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukrainian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops.
Adviser Myhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current condition of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster. “After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had announced several hours earlier Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant. A nuclear reactor at the plant 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, exploded in April 1986, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe.
A Ukrainian official said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository and an increase in radiation levels was reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, a 2,600-square-kilometer (1,000-square-mile) zone of forest surrounding the shuttered plant, lies between the Belarus-Ukraine border and the Ukrainian capital.
Nuclear agency finds Chernobyl radiation rise
Ukraine’s nuclear energy regulatory agency says that higher than usual gamma radiation levels have been detected in the area near the decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear plant, after it was seized by the Russian military. The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate said Friday that higher gamma radiation levels have been detected in the Chernobyl zone, but didn’t provide details of the increase.
It attributed the rise to a “disturbance of the topsoil due to the movement of a large amount of heavy military equipment through the exclusion zone and the release of contaminated radioactive dust into the air”.
Ukrainian authorities said that Russia took the plant and its surrounding exclusion zone after a fierce battle Thursday. Russian DM spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said Russian airborne troops were protecting the plant to prevent any possible “provocations”.