Russian forces take control of the Chernobyl power plant – Ukrainian official

An aerial view from an aircraft shows a new Safe Confinement (NSC) structure above the old sarcophagus covering the damaged 4th reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant during a tour of the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, Ukraine, April 3, 2021. REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo

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KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine’s presidential adviser, Mikhailo Podolak, said on Thursday that Russian forces had captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant.

“It is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a completely useless attack by the Russians,” he said.

“This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today,” Podolyak said.

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Russian forces took control of the power plant while Ukrainian forces clashed with them from three sides on Thursday after that Moscow launched an attack Land, sea and air in the largest attack on a European country since World War II.

A Russian security source said that some Russian soldiers had massed in the “exclusion zone” in Chernobyl before crossing into Ukraine early Thursday morning.

The same source said that Russia wants to control the Chernobyl nuclear reactor to signal NATO not to intervene militarily.

The Chernobyl disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine caused nuclear material to be pulled across much of Europe in 1986 after a failed safety test at the nuclear reactor’s fourth reactor.

Decades later, it has become a tourist attraction. About a week before the Russian invasion, the Chernobyl region was closed to tourists.

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“Our defenders are sacrificing their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter shortly before the capture of the power plant.

This is a declaration of war on all of Europe.”

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(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Natalia Zenets) Editing by Hugh Lawson and Jonathan Otis

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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