Ukraine publishes images of trenches dug by Russians in Chernobyl’s contaminated forest

The Red Forest, located in the immediate vicinity of the Chernobyl power plant, has one of the highest pollution rates in the world. This is where the debris fell when the nuclear reactor exploded in 1986.

It takes its name from the color that trees take on when exposed to radiation. The Red Forest is located in the vicinity of the old Chernobyl nuclear power plant, scene of the most serious nuclear accident in history in 1986. It is one of the most radioactive areas in the world. This did not prevent the Russians from digging trenches there as part of the invasion of Ukraine, as confirmed on Wednesday, supporting video, the Ukrainian general staff.

Fortifications and trenches

On February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s troops took control of the former nuclear power plant, today surrounded by an exclusion zone with a radius of 30 km. Five weeks later, these same Russian troops announced leaving the plant. The local media then pointed the finger at the radiation to which the soldiers would have been exposed, having no knowledge of the accident that took place there, to justify this hasty exit. In the process, the International Atomic Energy Agency had announced to open an investigation to confirm or not these accusations.

On BFMTV April 1, Petro KotinChairman of the Ukrainian state nuclear power company, had indicated that many Russian soldiers had started building “fortifications in this forest where radioactivity is so high.”

“The Russians entered the forest, the most irradiated territory during the disaster. This is where the pieces of fuel had fallen after the explosion. There are also burial sites for highly radioactive nuclear waste (…) Even staying only 24 hours in this forest, it is enough to be sick,” Petro Kotin said.

a damning video

Until now, the media had few details about these “fortifications” excavated by the Russians. But this Wednesday, the Ukrainian General Staff released on its Facebook account a video filmed in this Red Forest, where the traces of a military occupation of the site are clearly observed. The video, which appears to have been shot by a drone, then tilts its lens to show the immediate proximity to the plant, characterized by the towering metal sarcophagus that covered reactor number 4.

“Confirmation video: The Russians dug trenches and caponeras (military fortifications, editor’s note) around the Chernobyl zone,” details the caption accompanying the video.

Evidence that fortifications were excavated in the Red Forest indicates that Russian soldiers were exposed to significant levels of radiation. as reported Reuters news agencythe Red Forest is considered so polluted that even employees working in Chernobyl are not allowed to venture there, even though they have special permits.

An employee working at the old plant told the news agency that convoys of Russian vehicles had also contributed to the rise in radioactivity levels.

“A large convoy of military vehicles used a road just behind the plant, and this road passes in front of the Red Forest. The convoy kicked up a significant amount of dust. Many detectors detected elevated levels of radioactivity,” he stated.

destroyed documents

A report dating from March 2016, published by the Nuclear Safety Radiological Protection Institute (IRSN), illustrates the danger of the site. “In Chernobyl, the forest that occupies 53% of the exclusion zone covering an area of ​​2,600 km2 established after the accident suffered irreversible damage. In the first weeks after the accident, 90% of the pines died thus creating the ‘red forest’ in an area of ​​6 km2 and in an area of ​​38 km2 (…) 40-75% of the trees have been brown and 95% have been affected in their growth Between the cleaning operations, dead trees were cut and buried over an area of ​​4 km2″, indicates the publication.

The Ukrainian state agency in charge of the Chernobyl exclusion zone, meanwhile, shared many photos of the site emptied of its Russian occupants on Facebook. There are numerous destructions of facilities and files.

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