The nearly 170 members of the Ukrainian gendarmerie who guarded the Chernobyl nuclear power plant before the Russian invasion of the area in late February are missing. This is what Ukrainian employees of the power station said to journalists from CNN and the BBCduring a visit to Chernobyl, where the worst nuclear disaster in history took place in 1986.
After the Russians got their hands on the nuclear power plant, the guards are said to have been locked in an old Cold War air raid shelter. The guards would have been there for a month, without daylight, fresh air or enough food. Later, the Russians took them to an unknown destination, Ukraine’s interior minister said Friday. The Ukrainians did not provide any evidence for these claims.
While in the area, Russian soldiers seemed unaware of the risks there, Ukrainian soldiers told media outlets. They are said to have dug trenches in the Red Forest around the nuclear power plant, where the soil is still radioactively contaminated. According to Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko, the soldiers walked back into the nuclear power plant with their radioactive shoes. “As soon as they came in, the radiation levels rose.” According to Energoatom, which operates all nuclear power plants in Ukraine, Russian soldiers have been exposed to “significant amounts” of radiation.
Chernobyl’s technical personnel, who monitor and monitor the stored nuclear material, have been working under stressful conditions since the Russian invasion. Of the 210 in attendance, some were relieved after three weeks by colleagues who had volunteered their services. “When you are physically and emotionally exhausted, at gunpoint, and feel the pressure of the soldiers present every day, this is unbelievably hard work,” Galushchenko said. CNN†
Also read: Radiation sickness or soldier’s fever at Chernobyl?
Extra stressful were the three days that power to Chernobyl was cut after power lines were damaged by shelling. The electricity contributes to the cooling of the systems that prevent the release of nuclear fuel. An engineer who worked at the nuclear power plant at the time tells the BBC that he stole diesel from the Russians to keep the emergency generators running. “Without power, it would have ended catastrophically.”
Now that the Russian army is withdrawing from northern Ukraine, it is becoming clear in more and more places how the occupying forces have behaved. 320 bodies have now been found in Butja, a city near Kiev. There are also reports of war crimes from neighboring Irpin.
This article is also part of our live blog: British Prime Minister Johnson visits Zelensky in Kiev