Chernobyl Is Now Back Under Ukraine’s Control, State's Nuclear Body Says
Russian forces have withdrawn from Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other areas within the Exclusion Zone, the National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine (Energoatom) has confirmed.
After troops were seen leaving the area today (Thursday 31 March), Energoatom said in a statement published on Telegram: "It was confirmed that the occupiers, who seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other facilities in the Exclusion Zone, marched in two columns towards the Ukrainian border with the Republic of Belarus."
The state power company said Russian soldiers began leaving Chernobyl after a number got 'significant doses' of radiation from digging trenches at the highly contaminated site, although it gave no immediate details on the condition of the troops or how many were affected.
Energoatom said the Russians had been digging in the forest inside the exclusion zone around the now-closed plant, and had 'panicked at the first sign of illness', which 'showed up very quickly'. The company claimed they then began to prepare to leave, announcing their intention to leave and hand over control to Ukrainian personnel.
Energoatom also posted the copy of a letter purported to be signed by a representative of Russia's National Guard, a representative of Russia's state nuclear energy company Rosatom and a Chernobyl plant shift manager, with a heading that said: "The act of acceptance and transfer of protection of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant."
The Kremlin has not yet commented on the news.
Earlier today, a US official has said Russian forces have now been seen leaving the plant, telling AFP news agency: "Chernobyl is (an) area where they are beginning to reposition some of their troops – leaving, walking away from the Chernobyl facility and moving into Belarus.
"We think that they are leaving, I can't tell you that they're all gone."
An employee of the Public Council at the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management has also said Russian troops had been 'irradiated'.
In a post to Facebook, Yaroslav Yemelianenko said: "Another batch of radiation irradiation of Russian terrorists who captured the Chernobyl zone was brought to the Belarusian centre of radiation medicine in Gomel today.
"Digging the trenches in the Rudu forest, b*****s? Now live the rest of your short life with this. There are rules of handling this territory.
"They are mandatory to perform because radiation is physics – it works regardless of status or chases. If you have minimal intelligence in command or soldiers, these consequences could have been avoided."
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