SOCHI, Russia – The Russian Defense Ministry said in a statement Friday that its paratroopers have taken control of the territory around the former Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine and are working with Ukrainian security forces. to ensure the safety of their facilities, in contrast to Ukraine’s claims that Russian forces have held factory employees hostage.
“The radiation level around the nuclear plant is within limits,” Major General Igor Konashenkov, spokesman for the ministry, said in a statement. statement. “The plant’s employees continue to maintain its facilities and monitor radioactive activity.”
Ukraine’s government-run nuclear watchdog confirmed in statement that Russian forces had captured the area around the old plant, adding that all facilities “are under control and are being maintained by the plant’s employees.”
Ukrainian officials earlier said that they “take its employees hostage.”
“This puts not only the security of Ukraine but also Europe at risk,” he said. Alyona Shevtsova saysa Ukrainian military official.
Chernobyl was the scene of the worst nuclear accident in history, when an explosion and fire in 1986 destroyed one of the plant’s reactors. The plant has not produced electricity for more than two decades, and much of the equipment has been removed.
In Moscow, the Russian Defense Ministry said that “the joint actions of Russian paratroopers and soldiers of the Ukrainian Guards battalion will ensure that nationalist and other terrorist organizations do not take advantage of the situation.” ongoing pattern in the country to organize a nuclear provocation”.
In the Ukrainian capital Kyiv, Mikhailo Podolyak, a spokesman for the Ukrainian president’s office, countered that claim. He said the Ukrainian government had received information that Russian saboteurs “planned to carry out an act of terror at the Chernobyl plant to cause a powerful environmental disaster”.
“It’s clear that Russia doesn’t just want to depose the government and replace it with some puppet henchmen,” Podolyak said. “It wants to cause maximum devastation in Ukraine, even of an environmental nature.”
The two countries have also issued opposing statements about the ongoing military action.
Since the start of Russia’s invasion on Thursday, its forces have destroyed 118 military facilities in Ukraine, General Konashenkov said in a televised statement, General Konashenkov said. Those facilities include 11 military airfields, 13 military command posts and communication nodes, 13 surface-to-air missile systems and 36 radars. He also said that Russian forces shot down five Ukrainian warplanes, one helicopter and five drones, as well as 18 other tanks and armored vehicles.
More than 150 Ukrainian servicemen gave up their weapons, the statement said.
In Kyiv, a spokesman for the office of the president of Ukraine denied any claims of Ukraine’s withdrawal, speech that the country’s soldiers “show great heroism.”
https://www.nytimes.com/2022/02/25/world/europe/chernobyl-nuclear-plant-control.html Russia confirms control of Chernobyl plant