Chernobyl: Russian forces gain control of nuclear power plant, Ukrainian official says

“When I got to the office this morning (in Kyiv), it turned out that the management (the Chernobyl nuclear power plant) had left. So there was no one to give instructions or defend,” she said. speak.

Earlier, on Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian forces were trying to gain control of the nuclear plant.

“Russian occupation forces are trying to capture Chernobyl (nuclear power plant). Our defenders are sacrificing their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter. . “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”

Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry echoed the President’s warning, raising the specter of another nuclear disaster in the city.

“In 1986, the world witnessed the biggest technological disaster in Chernobyl,” the ministry wrote on Twitter. “If Russia continues the war, Chernobyl could happen again in 2022.”

Tourists are guided around the abandoned city of Pripyat, inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone, in 2019.
More than 30 people died immediately after the explosion tore apart Chernobyl’s No. 4 Reactor on April 26, 1986, near Pripyat, Ukraine. In the years that followed, countless others died from radiation symptoms, according to the International Atomic Energy Agency and the World Health Organization. The Ukrainian government has evacuated about 135,000 people from the area, and the 19-mile exclusion zone around the plant will be uninhabitable for decades.
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In the months following the accident, a coffin was built to cover Reactor 4 and contain radioactive material. However, it has deteriorated, resulting in radiation leakage.

Russia launched an all-out invasion of Ukraine before dawn on Thursday with a series of missile strikes targeting sites near the capital Kyiv, as well as long-range artillery strikes on the city of Kharkiv, near the border. Russian world. The offensive quickly spread across central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attacked the country from three sides.

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