Conflicts & War

Ukraine flags radioactive threat as Russia militarizes Chernobyl

Lviv, Ukraine, Mar 28 (EFE).- Ukraine Monday warned of a possible widespread radioactive danger as the Russian forces have allegedly stored military equipment near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant under their control.

“The occupiers continue to militarize the Chernobyl exclusion zone. This presents a very serious risk of damaging the insulation structures built over the station’s fourth unit after the 1986 explosion,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereschuk said on Telegram.

Vereschuk, also the minister for the reintegration of the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine, said such “damage will inevitably lead to the entry into the atmosphere of a significant amount of radioactive dust and contaminate not only Ukraine but also other European countries.”

She said Russian troops “ignored these threats, continuing to transport and store a significant amount of ammunition in the immediate vicinity of the nuclear power plant,” Vereschuk said.

She said the Russians were daily transporting tens of tons of rockets, shells, and mortar ammunition through the city of Pripyat, only a few hundred meters from the isolation facilities of the plant.

She warned that “the Russian occupation forces are increasingly using old and substandard ammunition, which increases the risk of their detonation, even when loading and transporting,” since such incidents frequently occur at Russian military depots.

She said fires broke out in the exclusion zone that could have “very serious consequences.”

Ukrainian troops could not control the blaze fully because they could not enter the Russian-controlled zone.

“As a result of combustion, radionuclides are released into the atmosphere, which the wind can carry over long distances, which threatens radiation not only in Ukraine but also in other European countries,” Vereschuk said.

Ukraine’s “loss of control over the exclusion zone and inability to fully extinguish the fire could threaten radiation facilities in the area,” she reiterated.

On the other hand, the minister said that this week saw a complete rotation of Chernobyl personnel, who spent more than 600 hours at their jobs.

In exchange for these workers, 59 specialists, including six women, agreed to go to the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to perform duties to maintain the safe operation of Chernobyl facilities.

“We consider all of them hostages of the occupants,” she said.

Vereschuk urged the United Nations Security Council to “take immediate measures to demilitarize the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.”

She asked the world body to establish a special UN mission to eliminate the risk of a recurrence of the Chernobyl accident due to the Russian forces. EFE


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