Ukraine No Longer In control Of Chernobyl Site, Officials Say

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A presidential adviser says Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukrainian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops.

Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current condition of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy had announced several hours earlier Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

A nuclear reactor at the plant 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv, exploded in April 1986, sending a radioactive cloud across Europe.

The exploded reactor was covered by a protective shelter several years ago to prevent radiation leaks.

A Ukrainian official said Russian shelling hit a radioactive waste repository and an increase in radiation levels was reported. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter.

It was not immediately possible for experts to access the repository to assess the damage before Russian forces overtook the site.

The Russian Defense Ministry has confirmed that its ground forces have moved into Ukraine from Crimea, the first confirmation from Moscow that its ground forces have moved in.

Russia previously said only that it unleashed air and missile strikes on Ukrainian air bases, air defense batteries and other military facilities. The ministry said it has destroyed 83 Ukrainian military facilities.

For the first time since the start of the action, Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov confirmed the Russian ground troops had rolled into Ukraine, saying they advanced toward the city of Kherson, northwest of Crimea.

 

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