Ukraine: Russia would have left Chernobyl with hostages, Belgorod bombed

UKRAINE – 37 days after the start of the war in Ukraine, the Russian army is said to have abandoned the Chernobyl nuclear power plantfrom humanitarian corridors must allow the evacuation of civilians from marioupol and Moscow accuses Ukraine of bombing Belgorod in western Russia. the huff post takes stock of the situation.

  • Russians left Chernobyl sick and with hostages, kyiv says

Russian troops have abandoned the Chernobyl power plant which they had occupied since the start of theinvasion of the ukraine on February 24, taking hostagesannounced on Thursday, March 31 at the night of officials in kyiv.

“Emerging from the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, the Russian occupiers took with them members of the National Guard whom they had held hostage since February 24,” Ukrainian state agency Energoatom said on Telegram, citing employees. It was unclear how many Ukrainian soldiers were taken hostage by Russian forces.

The agency had indicated shortly before that the Russian troops had begun their departure from the plant, located about a hundred kilometers north of kyiv. Leaving the plant, the Russians engaged in “looting of premises, theft of equipment and other valuables,” the agency charged.

According to Energoatom quoted by the Guardian, the Russian military is said to have left after being contaminated by high doses of radiation while digging trenches in the forest located in the Chernobyl exclusion zone. The troops “went into a panic after the first signs of illness” that appeared “very quickly”. They were reportedly sent to Belarus for treatment.

The United Nations Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has indicated that it is investigating this issue, as it does not currently have evidence to confirm Energoatom’s statements. Ukrainian specialists will also inspect the plant for possible “explosive devices”, according to the same source.

“The Russian Armed Forces will reopen a humanitarian corridor from Mariupol to Zaporojie (220 km northwest) on April 1 starting at 10 a.m. Moscow time,” or 9 a.m. in Paris, the Russian Defense Ministry said.

The Ukrainian government was going to send 45 buses on Thursday to evacuate civilians from the besieged port of Mariupol (southeast), after Moscow announced a truce to allow their departure. Seventeen buses have already left for Mariupol, according to kyiv.

The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) said it is ready to “direct” these evacuation operations starting Friday in the direction of the city of Zaporozhye, 220 kilometers to the northwest, on condition of having the necessary guarantees.

However, she warned this Friday that she was not sure that the evacuation could take place. “There are many moving parts and all the details are not fixed for it to happen safely (…) It is not yet clear if it will be done today,” said the spokesman for the International Committee of the Red Cross during a regular conference. UN briefing.

The humanitarian situation is catastrophic in Mariupol, where tens of thousands of civilians are trapped and suffer from lack of food and cold. Both sides regularly accuse each other of foiling civilian evacuation operations.

  • The Russian army repositions itself in the East

Parallel to the alert from the International Red Cross, the Ukrainian president assured that the Russian army was repositioning itself in the east of the country in anticipation of “powerful attacks” and in particular on the besieged port of Mariupol.

“We know that they are moving away from the regions where we beat them to focus on others that are very important… where it can be difficult for us,” added the Ukrainian president. In particular, the situation in the east of the country is “very difficult”.

Russia indicated this week that it intended reduce its activity in kyiv and chernigiv to transfer its striking power from the north to the (separatist) regions of Donetsk and Luhansk in the east.

But NATO, Russian forces “are not withdrawing but repositioning” in the Donbass region, while maintaining “pressure on the capital kyiv and other cities.” “In Donbass and Mariupol, in the direction of Kharkiv, the Russian army is strengthening in anticipation of powerful attacks,” the Ukrainian president also declared.

  • Attacks in Belgorod, Russia

A Russian official accused Ukraine on Friday (April 1) of carrying out a helicopter attack on an “oil depot” in the western Russian city of Belgorod, some 40 kilometers from the Ukrainian border.

“A fire broke out in an oil depot due to an airstrike by two Ukrainian army helicopters that penetrated at low altitude into Russian territory,” the governor of the Belgorod region, Vyacheslav Gladkov, said on his Telegram account.

In another message, he indicated that firefighters were working intensively to put out the fire and that two warehouse employees had been injured. The Russian Emergency Situations Ministry says 170 rescuers are involved. The public company Rosneft, which owns the premises, told Russian news agencies that it had evacuated its staff there.

After the attack, local media reported queues of vehicles in front of gas stations, but Energy Minister Nikolai Shulguinov assured that there will be no shortage of gasoline.

In addition, the director of a printing house near Belgorod, Konstantin Lakhnov, claimed that his company had also been hit by gunfire. “The helicopters fired rockets at us… The windows are damaged, the equipment is destroyed or damaged… The roof is damaged,” he told the TASS public agency.

See also in The HuffPost: Images from inside the nuclear power plant attacked in Ukraine

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