Authorities said early Friday, Russian soldiers left the heavily contaminated Chernobyl nuclear site after returning control to Ukrainian officials. On the other hand, eastern areas of the country braced for new invasions, and Russian forces blocked another aid mission to the blockaded port city of Mariupol. Energoatom, a Ukrainian state power company, said the withdrawal at Chernobyl came after troops received significant radiation doses from digging drains in the forest in the exclusion zone across the closed nuclear plant.
According to the Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom, Russian forces occupying the former nuclear plant leave the site. Troops left the heavily contaminated nuclear site early Friday after returning control to the Ukrainians. pic.twitter.com/6Ls2IT3kZV
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Additionally, Reuters cited workers at the site saying some of the troops had no idea they were in a radiation zone. On the other side, the Russian forces said that after capturing the plant radiation levels at the nuclear plant, radiation levels at the site itself stayed within a normal range. The International Atomic Energy Agency stated that it could not confirm the reports. However, the agency director says that it was in close talks with Ukrainian officials to send a mission to the Chernobyl plant in the coming days.
During some days, Moscow said it would cut back its military operations in northern Ukraine across Kyiv and focus its troops on the eastern Donbas region. The closed nuclear plant is located north of Kyiv. On Thursday, Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary-General of NATO, said Russia was relocating instead of pulling out to regroup, reinforce, and resupply its aggression in Donbas. Simultaneously, Moscow maintains pressure on the Ukrainian capital and other cities. So, NATO can expect further offensive actions, bringing even more suffering.
Further Dialogs to End Russian-Ukraine War
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky repeatedly expressed safety concerns about the Chernobyl plant and demanded the pullout of the Russian military, whose presence prevented the rotation of the personnel of the plant for a time. Furthermore, on Thursday, the director of Energoatom urged the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations to help ensure nuclear officials of Russia don’t interfere in the Chernobyl operation and the Zaporizhzhia plant, the largest in Europe, which was also seized by Russian forces.
The withdrawal came because of continuous war and signs that Moscow uses dialogs of de-escalation as cover while reorganizing and resupplying its military and redeploying them for accelerated aggression in eastern Ukraine. Zelensky said that Ukraine is considering a buildup of the Russian military for new attacks on the Donbas, and Ukrainian forces are preparing for that. At the same time, a group of buses headed to Mariupol in another effort to withdraw people from the besieged port city after the Russian forces agreed to a limited truce in the region. A new round of negotiations intended at stopping the war is scheduled for Friday.
Where is Ukrainian Feeling?
The US says over four million Ukrainians, mostly children and women, fled to Ukraine since Russia attacked. Moreover, most of them sought refuge in neighboring nations. The International Committee of the Red Cross said that its teams deployed to Mariupol with aid, including medical supplies, and expected to take civilians out of the beleaguered city. Instead, in the past some weeks, tens of thousands managed to escape by way of humanitarian passages, cutting the population of the city from a pre-war of four hundred thirty thousand to around one hundred thousand as of last week.