Zelensky blames Russia for putting the world “on the brink of catastrophe” at Chernobyl

The president of Ukraine, Volodimir Zelensky, blamed Russia on Tuesday for putting the world “on the brink of catastrophe” by occupying Chernobyl, after a meeting with the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi.

“For the Russian military, the Chernobyl zone and the station were supposedly normal territory for hostilities. A territory in which they did not even try to take care of nuclear security”, Zelensky pointed out.

“No other country in the world since 1986 has posed such a significant threat to nuclear security, to Europe and to the world, as Russia has since 24 February. Russia maintained a contingent in the Chernobyl zone with armored vehicles, which destroyed the ground surface and raised an extraordinary amount of dust into the air, including radioactive particles,” the president added in a statement from the Ukrainian Presidency.

Likewise, Zelensky has indicated that the world must put an end to “Russia’s nuclear blackmail” and restore the fundamental principles of nuclear safety and the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

“We also need to work together to address a number of critical issues that have been discussed today. It is about depriving Russia of a disproportionate representation in the IAEA. I am convinced that our State has the right to be represented on the IAEA Board of Governors”, Zelenski clarified.

“Abnormal” level of radioactivity

For his part, Grossi stated during a visit to the plant on Tuesday that the level of radioactivity at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine is “abnormal” and rose after Russian troops occupied the area, according to the AFP agency. .

“The level of radioactivity, I would say it is abnormal. There were times when the levels went up due to the movement of heavy equipment that the Russian forces brought here and when they left. We have been doing a daily follow-up, ”said the head of the agency.

The official has condemned the occupation by Russian forces for several weeks of the Chernobyl nuclear site in Ukraine as “very, very dangerous”. “The situation was absolutely abnormal and very, very dangerous,” he told reporters during a visit to the damaged plant in 1986, on the anniversary of the tragedy.

Grossi has been accompanied on site by a group of experts “to deliver vital equipment” (dosimeters, protective suits) and carry out “radiological and other controls”, the IAEA had indicated last Friday. These experts must “repair the remote surveillance systems, which stopped transmitting data to the headquarters” of the OEA in Vienna (Austria) shortly after the start of the war.

Chernobyl remained for five weeks – until the end of March – under the control of the Russian Armed Forces. Until now, “the worst scenario has been avoided”, but Grossi has called for not taking anything for granted and avoiding at all costs a disaster like the one Chernobyl experienced in 1986, due to the repercussions it would have not only for the security of Ukraine but also for that of other neighboring countries.

In the case of the old Chernobyl plant, it became disconnected from the electricity grid and was left without communication with the outside, while there were also fears for the integrity of its workers.

The departure of the Russian troops allowed Ukraine to organize the first staff rotation in three weeks and this week direct communications between the plant and the Ukrainian nuclear agency have been reestablished, after a month of interruption. Among the pending challenges, however, is access to the area itself, since there are destroyed bridges and part of the land would be mined.

The Russian invasion in Ukraine, seen by the Pulitzer Prize winner Emilio Morenatti

Source: HuffPost Spain for Athena2 by www.huffingtonpost.es.

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