Ukraine announced Thursday that Russian forces had captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant after a “fierce” battle on the first day of the Kremlin's invasion of its ex-Soviet neighbour.
“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe. This is one of the most serious threats to Europe today,” said Mykhailo Podolyak, advisor to the chief of the presidential administration.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said earlier that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The plant was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident when a nuclear reactor exploded in April 1986, spewing radioactive waste across Europe. The plant lies 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital of Kyiv.
The exploded reactor has been covered by a protective shelter to prevent radiation leak and the entire plant has been decommissioned.
Zelenskyy said on Twitter that “our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated.” He added that “this is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”