Russian soldiers are being shipped home from the Ukraine war zone with “acute radiation sickness” after digging trenches near the infamous Chernobyl nuclear power plant, it has been reported.
Some of the young conscripts sent into Ukraine had reportedly never even heard of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
Chernobyl staff reported seeing the Russians driving “a big convoy of military vehicles” through a wooded area near the reactor known as the “Red Forest,” causing huge clouds of radioactive soil and dust to be kicked up into the air.
The area – named for the pine trees that turned red after being exposed to highly radioactive waste – is considered so highly toxic that not even specially-trained Chernobyl workers are allowed to enter the zone.
Valery Seida, the acting general of Chernobyl, said plant safety officers had reported that the invaders "drove wherever they needed to," without listening to advice from on-site experts.
According to reports, “several hundred” Russian soldiers were suffering from radiation sickness after being stationed at the plant.
Yaroslav Yemelianenko, from the Public Council at the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management, wrote on Facebook that large groups of sick troops were being shipped home: “Another batch of Russian irradiated terrorists who seized the Chernobyl zone was brought to the Belarusian Radiation Medicine Center in Gomel today,” he said, adding “there are rules for dealing with this territory.”
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Energoatom, the Ukrainian government agency which administers the country’s nuclear power stations, said the Russian soldiers had been digging trenches in the Red Forest: “Not surprisingly, the occupiers received significant doses of radiation and panicked at the first sign of illness. And it showed up very quickly.”
The Russian troops were not wearing any protective equipment or using respirators. One one source told Reuters the Russians’ reckless behaviour was “suicidal.”
Energoatom said most of the Russian soldiers had since packed up and returned to Belarus.
The agency issued a statement on Telegram, saying: “It has been confirmed that the occupiers who seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other facilities in the Exclusion Zone set off in two columns towards Ukraine’s border with Belarus.
"The occupiers announced their intentions to leave the Chernobyl nuclear power plant this morning to the Ukrainian personnel of the station." A small number of Russians still reportedly remains at the facility.
The agency said it had also confirmed reports of Russian forces digging trenches in the Red Forest, “the most polluted in the entire exclusion zone.”
“Not surprisingly, the occupiers received significant doses of radiation and panicked at the first sign of illness. And it showed up very quickly.”
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