• 16 April, 2024
Geopolitics & National Security

Russian forces take control of Chernobyl workers’ town, three dead – report

Sun, 27 Mar 2022   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

LVIV, Ukraine (Reuters) -Russian forces have taken control of Ukraine’s Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, and three people were killed, Interfax Ukraine news agency quoted the local mayor as saying.

The governor of Kyiv region, Oleksandr Pavlyuk, had earlier announced the capture in an online post.

The town sits just outside a safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 – where Ukrainian staff have continued to manage the site even after the territory was occupied by Russian forces soon after the start of the Feb. 24 invasion.

Slavutych has been under occupation since today. We steadfastly defended our city … three deaths have been confirmed so far,” Interfax quoted mayor Yuri Fomichev as saying in a Facebook post. The report did not give details on the casualties.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement that it was closely monitoring the situation and expressed concern about the ability of staff to rotate in and out of the atomic power station.

Pavlyuk did not describe how the town had been taken, but said some residents had unfurled a large Ukrainian flag and shouted “Glory to Ukraine” in protest.

He also said the Russians fired into the air to disperse the protest in the centre of the town and had thrown stun grenades into the crowd.

There was no immediate comment from Russia about Slavutych.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the town had become a new hotspot of the war.

On Friday, Ukraine said Russian troops had drawn close to the town, which had a pre-war population of around 25,000, and had launched an unsuccessful first attack.

Moscow calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbour. Kyiv and its Western allies call it an unprovoked war of aggression.

(Reporting by Natalia Zinets and David LjunggrenWriting by Alessandra PrenticeEditing by Alexander Smith, Barbara Lewis and Aurora Ellis)

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