If the reports are confirmed, the question “Who didn’t see This coming?” has never been more dead-on. Maybe even literally. Russian troops working in “the exclusion zone” around the nuclear power plant at Chernobyl may have been exposed to “significant doses of radiation,” Ukraine’s state energy company Energoatom said in a statement on Friday, CBS News reported.
My colleague Susie Moore reported that Ukrainian officials claimed power had been shut off to Chernobyl because of damage to the high-voltage wire during fighting between Ukrainian troops, Russian troops, and defunct facilities. This raised concerns about the possibility of radiation leakage. This does not seem to be true.
Although the company could not confirm the extent of the radiation exposure, there are unconfirmed reports suggesting that troops were sickened. Other reports suggested Russian soldiers suffered “acute radiation sickness” from contaminated soil after digging trenches in a forest near the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history — in 1986.
According to some reports, the area is so toxic that it was not allowed for even Chernobyl specialists to access the zone.
Valerіy Seyda, director of the plant, also said in the statement:
While the intruders didn’t actually dig any soil on the area of the plant’s territory, thickened dust from equipment during transit and radioactive particles within it may well have made their way into the bodies.
It is not known what these invaders did in the Red Forest. Furthermore, it’s possible they may have been exposed to radiation from digging trenches within this forest.
Two blistering tweets from the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense attributing the Russian exit to military losses in Ukraine to their army, attributed to Russian Defense Minister.
[R]The Chornobyl nuclear plant was evacuated by the ussian occupiers. There are two main reasons. [Ukraine]Radiation exposure and army [R]The round ended with the @stalker_thegame loss for ussian mutants
S.T.A.L.K.E.R. — Shadow of ChernobylThis is a survival video game.
The russian occupation of Chornobyl was ended by the nuclear power plant. Two key reasons: losses caused by 🇺🇦 army and radiation exposure. This round saw the defeat of Russian mutants @stalker_thegame#UaArmy
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 1, 2022
This second tweet was also as intense.
[R]The ussian occupiers seized the Chornobyl nuclear plant and fled. They could not conquer 🇺🇦, so they took kettles, lab equipment, and radiation. This applies only to the survivors.
If we’ve learned Anything about the Ukrainian people over the last five weeks it’s that they are resilient and courageous as hell in the face of an onslaught from a brutal attacker that indiscriminately kills civilians, and has likely committed war crimes and other atrocities.
Before retreating, the russian occupiers took control of Chornobyl’s nuclear power station. They could not conquer 🇺🇦, so they took kettles, lab equipment, and radiation. This applies only to the survivors.#stoprussia
— Defence of Ukraine (@DefenceU) April 1, 2022
The convoy drove on a major road just behind our facility, passing the Red Forest, the most polluted part of the exclusion area. This large group of military vehicles blew up huge amounts of dust. Numerous radiation safety sensors detected levels that were higher than the legal limit.
In a Friday statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency stated that it could not confirm claims that Russian soldiers were subject to radiation high levels while in Chernobyl. Rafael Grossi (the head of IAEA) stated that he will be heading a mission as soon as possible to the plant.
As soon as I can, I’ll be heading an IAEA support and assistance mission to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant. This will be my first of a number of missions to ensure nuclear safety and security in Ukraine.
— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) April 1, 2022
To add to the confusion, as noted by CBS News, Yevhen Kramarenko, head of Ukraine’s agency in charge of the exclusion zone, said radiation levels now appeared to be normal, but that the facilities “needed to be checked.” In addition, Kramarenko said Russian troops were seen in the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl plant on Friday, after Energoatom on Thursday said they had left the plant itself, which was seized at the beginning of the invasion on February 24.
Yahoo News reported that U.S intelligence had on Wednesday indicated that Russian forces were withdrawing from the region. Russia also claimed that the Russian withdrawal from Chernobyl was part a promise to reduce the invasion.
Let’s get to the bottom of it:
It is the height of hell. Many propagandists tell stories from different perspectives about the horrors of war. It seems that this is the case.
Regardless, Russia is both getting its ass kicked and kicking its own ass in a war Vladimir Putin not all that long ago thought the “mighty” Red Army could breeze through in three-five days.
Yup, Vlad — war is hell.