May 18, 2024

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Ukraine: Zelensky remembers Chernobyl and warns against nuclear danger

Ukraine: Zelensky remembers Chernobyl and warns against nuclear danger

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday warned of the risk of a nuclear accident due to Russia's occupation of the Zaporizhia power plant, a warning on the 38th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

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The Russian military has occupied the largest power plant in southern Ukraine for more than two years, which previously produced 20% of the country's electricity.

“It's been 785 days since Russian terrorists took the Zaporizhzhia power plant hostage,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy lamented Friday on X (formerly Twitter).

“The whole world has to put pressure on Russia to release the Zaporizhzhya power plant and return it to Ukrainian control,” he said, adding that he believed it was “the only way to avoid new catastrophes” like Chernobyl. .

On April 26, 1986, when Ukraine was still part of the Soviet Union, a reactor exploded at the Chernobyl power plant located about a hundred kilometers north of Kiev.

The nuclear accident, considered the worst in history, contaminated large areas in Ukraine, Belarus and Russia in particular. Much of Europe was also affected by radioactive fallout.

On the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, on February 24, 2022, troops from Moscow entered the highly radioactive exclusion zone surrounding Chernobyl through Belarus and occupied the site of the power plant, which has been inactive since 2000.

Cave says they stayed there for a month before retreating, looting scientific equipment.

The Zaporizhia power plant continued to operate in the first months of the Russian invasion, despite periods of occupation and bombing by Russian forces, before being shut down in the fall of 2022.

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Kiev and Moscow have repeatedly accused each other of bombing the site, with the strikes raising fears of a “new Chernobyl”.