‘Took radiation with them’ Chernobyl plant in ‘crazy’ conditions as Russia kidnaps guards

Ukraine: Russian soldiers ransack Chernobyl and kidnap guards

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Chernobyl fell under Russian control within hours of Moscow launching its invasion of Ukraine on February 24, sparking fears of a potential major nuclear accident unfolding due to lax controls. Most of the staff at the inactive nuclear power plant continued working throughout the occupation in questionable conditions whilst security forces remained locked in a bomb b bunker. In an exclusive visit inside the containment zone, CNN’s Fred Pleitgen spoke to Ukrainian officials who denounced the “crazy” situation they found after retaking the plant.

Mr Pleitgen said: “Among the prisoners, police officers, National Guard members and soldiers.

“Ukraine’s interior minister tells me the Russians have now taken them to Russia and they don’t know how they’re doing.

“While the plant’s technical staff was allowed to keep working, the Ukrainians say Russian troops were lax with nuclear safety.”

Officials assessing the state of the nuclear power plant reported high levels of radiation in areas serving as sleeping quarters for Russian troops.

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The data appears to confirm reports suggesting Russian soldiers worked in heavily radioactive parts of the exclusion zone, including the Red Forest surrounding Chernobyl.

The CNN reporter continued: “And as we enter the area Russian troops stayed and worked in, suddenly the dosimeter alarm goes off – increased radiation levels.

“They went to the Red Forest and brought the radiation here on their shoes, a National Guardsman says.

“Everywhere else is normal, only this floor is radioactive. I ask, only this floor is ok but here’s not normal?

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“Yes, he says, the radiation is increased here because they lived here and they went everywhere.

“On their shoes and clothes, I asked. Yes, and now they took the radiation with them.”

Ukraine’s Energy Minister German Galushchenko earlier this week claimed 75 Russian soldiers had been receiving treatment for radiation in Belarus.

He questioned the Russian Army’s decision to dig into areas “with the high level of radiation with signs saying, ‘don’t come in, don’t stay near.”

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Mr Galushchenko, however, insisted Ukraine had not recorded any increase in radiation since retaking the nuclear power plant.

Ukraine has been slowly reclaiming territory invaded by the Russian Army in the early days of the invasion after forcing them into retreat.

Moscow is believed to have refocussed its plans to securing its position in the Donbas region following its troops’ failure to take over Kyiv and push Volodymyr Zelensky’s Government to collapse.

Ukrainians have mounted fierce resistance in the face of Russian aggression, with thousands volunteering to join the defense league and arming themselves.

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