The UN Nuclear Monitoring Commission is investigating Ukrainian claims that Russian troops occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were exposed to high levels of radiation.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it could not confirm the claims of the Ukrainian state power company Energoatom and was seeking an independent assessment.
Energoatom said the Russians had dug trenches in the forest. The worst nuclear disaster in the worldAnd the troops “panicked at the first sign of illness” which was “shown very quickly” and prepared to leave.
Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Irina Vareshchuk said Russian troops digging a trench in the jungle had been exposed to radiation, but that had not been independently verified.
According to some reports, the soldiers were sent to a specialized medical facility in Belarus after kicking off radioactive dust and driving tanks through the “dead zone” around the nuclear plant.
Russian forces also retreated from nearby Slavutych cityChernobyl is home to workers, Energoatom said.
The IAEA said it was preparing to send its first “aid and support mission” to Chernobyl in the north. Ukraine In the next few days.
Russian soldiers though Seized control of Chernobyl In the aftermath of the February 24 invasion, Ukrainian workers at the plant continued to oversee the safe storage of spent nuclear fuel and supervised the concrete-packed remains of the nuclear reactor that exploded in 1986, causing the world’s worst nuclear accident.
Enercotam said in a separate statement that the Russian side had formally agreed to hand over the responsibility of protecting Chernobyl to Ukraine. It was shared by a scan of a document signed by a senior Chernobyl employee and identified as a Russian military officer assigned to Chernobyl’s defense. The authenticity of the document could not be immediately verified by Reuters.
Ukraine has repeatedly expressed security concerns at Chernobyl and called for the withdrawal of Russian troops whose presence prevented the rotation of personnel for a period of time.
Russia’s Defense Ministry did not respond to a request for comment on the accounts of Chernobyl employees.