Moscow: The Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s personnel are continuing to service the facilities and monitor the radiation situation at the station as usual, a top Russian official claimed on Friday, a day after Russian forces took over the decommissioned facility after a fierce fight with Ukrainian soldiers guarding it.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday launched a multi-pronged all-out attack on Ukraine, casting aside international condemnation and sanctions and warned other countries that any attempt to interfere would lead to “consequences they had never seen”.
Russian forces took over the decommissioned nuclear power plant (NPP) on Thursday after a fierce battle with the Ukrainian battalion guarding the facility, where nuclear radiation is still leaking from the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
Alyona Shevtsova, advisor to the commander of Ukraine’s Ground Forces, in a Facebook Post said that Russian forces have taken over the power station and held the staff hostage.
On February 24, Russia’s paratroops put under control the territory around the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. An agreement was achieved with Ukraine’s separate battalion guarding the country’s NPP to jointly ensure the safety of nuclear reactors and the nuclear shelter, Russian Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov was quoted as saying by state-run TASS news agency.
Konashenkov said the NPP personnel continued to service the facilities and monitor the radiation situation at the decommissioned plant as usual.
An explosion at the Chernobyl plant in 1986 is the worst nuclear disaster in history.
According to CNN, more than 30 people died in the immediate aftermath of an explosion that tore through 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 Ukraine government evacuated some 135,000 people from the area and the 19-mile exclusion zone around the plant will remain uninhabitable for decades, the CNN report said.
Warning the world of another such disaster, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in a tweet said, “Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated.”
“This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe,” he said on Thursday.
According to a report in the BBC, the Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs also warned of the possibility of “another ecological disaster” at the site.
Reports citing Ukraine’s nuclear energy regulatory agency said that higher than usual gamma radiation levels have been detected in the area near the decommissioned plant.
However, Konashenkov said that the radiation level in the area of the nuclear power plant did not exceed the natural background.
“Joint measures by Russia’s paratroops and the Ukrainian battalion responsible for guarding the nuclear power plant is a guarantee the nationalist groups and other terrorist organisations will be unable to use the current situation in the country for staging a nuclear provocation, he said.
President Putin announced in a televised address on Thursday morning that in response to a request by the head of the Donbas republic, he had made a decision to carry out a special military operation to protect people who have been suffering from abuse and genocide by the Kyiv regime for eight years.
Russia’s Defence Ministry reported that Russian troops were destroying Ukrainian military infrastructure using precision weapons.
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