Russia Takes Chernobyl, Risking Ukraine to Radiation

Russia Takes Chernobyl, Risking Ukraine to Radiation

( – The conflict in Ukraine escalated on Thursday, February 24, as Russian forces moved in to occupy several regions. During several skirmishes, it appears they captured Chernobyl. Now, Ukrainian officials are worried about what it could mean for its citizens’ safety.

Pictures surfaced of Russian tanks in front of nuclear reactors in the area, which is still giving off radiation, according to Ukrainian officials. Additionally, reports indicate artillery might have struck the covering of the nuclear reactor and could potentially cause radioactive waste spillage.

Mykhailo Podolyak, a Ukrainian presidential advisor, expressed concern for the area, saying, “it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe.” The country’s parliament is reporting excessive levels of gamma radiation. Vehicles stirring up dust might have caused the increased levels, but there has been no independent verification. Russia’s defense ministry denies these claims.

Chernobyl is the site of one of the most disastrous events in world history. In 1986, reactor number 4 exploded, leading to the immediate deaths of the staff on hand, and thousands more later died due to radiation exposure. The incident was so devastating scientists deemed the land in and around Chernobyl uninhabitable for thousands of years.

Now, Ukrainians are afraid the battles and the subsequent disregard for the site of the worst nuclear disaster in the world will lead to more radiation sickness. Unfortunately, it’s too soon to tell if it’s a real issue, but the area remains largely unoccupied.

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