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Officials say Ukraine no longer in control of Chernobyl site


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.

A view of the ghost town of Pripyat with a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the background.
A view of the ghost town of Pripyat with a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the background. ((AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky))

The State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management spokesperson, Yevgeniya Kuznetsovа, told CNN there was no one there to defend the facility.

“When I came to the office today in the morning [in Kyiv], it turned out, that the [Chernobyl nuclear power plant] management had left. So there was no one to give instructions or defend,” she said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had announced several hours earlier on Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

A nuclear reactor at the plant 130 kilometres north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, exploded in April 1986, spewing radioactive waste across Europe.

A man walks past a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Thursday, April 15, 2021.
A man walks past a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Thursday, April 15, 2021. ((AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky))

The exploded reactor was covered by a protective shelter several years ago to prevent radiation leaks.

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.

Ukrainian military track burns at an air defence base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine.
Ukrainian military track burns at an air defence base in the aftermath of an apparent Russian strike in Mariupol, Ukraine. (AP)

Other governments did not immediately corroborate or confirm the claims.

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that its ground forces have moved into Ukraine from Crimea, the first confirmation from Moscow that its ground forces have moved in.

Russia previously said only that it unleashed air and missile strikes on Ukrainian air bases, air defence batteries and other military facilities.

The ministry said it has destroyed 83 Ukrainian military facilities.

This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies is showing parts of a military convoy moving south in and around Golovchino in Russia, which is 16 kilometres north of the border with Ukraine.
This satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies is showing parts of a military convoy moving south in and around Golovchino in Russia, which is 16 kilometres north of the border with Ukraine. (AP)

Ukrainians flee as Russia launches ‘barbaric attack’

For the first time since the start of the action, Defence Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed the Russian ground troops had rolled into Ukraine, saying they advanced toward the city of Kherson, northwest of Crimea.



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