Russian forces take Chernobyl: reports
Russian forces have reportedly taken control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, after brief fighting with Ukrainian troops.
Ukrainian officials said on Thursday that control over Chernobyl has been lost, according to multiple news outlets.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, appeared to confirm this development.
“It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” Podolyak said, according to Reuters. “This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today.”
Zelensky warned earlier in the day that Russian forces were attempting to take control over Chernobyl.
As The Associated Press reported, a Ukrainian official said Russian shelling had hit a radioactive waste depository and an increase in radioactivity had been reported.
A Russian security source who spoke to Reuters said that the Russian military wants control over Chernobyl in order to send a message to NATO not to militarily interfere in its invasion of Ukraine.
Chernobyl is the site of the worst nuclear incident in history. In 1986, several explosions occurred at the Soviet-designed reactor. The reactor’s core experienced a meltdown and radioactive material was released into the atmosphere.
Thousands of people were evacuated from the area and dozens died as a result due to acute radiation poisoning. Since then, an exclusion zone of roughly 1,000 square miles has been in place around the plant.
Updated 1:55 p.m.