Russian troops destroyed decades of Chernobyl data, Ukrainian officials say

Russian troops destroyed decades of Chernobyl data, Ukrainian officials say

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Russian forces destroyed decades of data kept at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) after forces occupied the area for 35 days, Ukrainian officials reported this week.

“This is all that remains of our Chernobyl documents and archives. What we have been collecting for decades, some whore just threw in the trash,” Oleksandr Syrota, chairman of the public council under the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management, said in a translated Facebook post Thursday.

A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Nov. 22, 2018. 

A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Nov. 22, 2018.  (REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo)

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Representatives from the state agency posted pictures of trash bins allegedly full of documents along with images that showed missing servers that monitored radiation levels in the area.

The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Russian forces, which had occupied Chernobyl since the first day of the invasion Feb. 24, had vacated the area. 

Russian troops left Chernobyl last week after Russian negotiators said troops would withdraw from areas around the capital city of Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, roughly 55 miles from Chernobyl. 

Ukraine told the IAEA Thursday that it had begun the “process of resuming regulatory control of the NPP.”

The IAEA said it intends to visit the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster “as soon as it is possible to assess the radiation situation.”

Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces and special operations units exercise as they simulate a crisis situation in an urban settlement in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine, Feb. 4, 2022. 

Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces and special operations units exercise as they simulate a crisis situation in an urban settlement in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine, Feb. 4, 2022.  (AP Photo/Mykola Tymchenko, File)

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Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that unprotected Russian forces were kicking up clouds of radioactive dust by driving armored vehicles through an area known as the “Red Forest.”

And recent drone footage reportedly showed that trenches had been dug in “contaminated areas” throughout the exclusion zone. 

The nuclear watchdog said it has been unable to independently verify reporting that has suggested Russian forces have received “high doses of radiation.”

“It is of paramount importance that the IAEA travels to Chernobyl so that we can take urgent action to assist Ukraine in ensuring nuclear safety and security there,” Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. “I’m in close consultations with our Ukrainian counterparts to organize such a visit as soon as it is possible.”

A Ukrainian serviceman stands on a destroyed bridge between the village of Dytiatky and Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 5, 2022. 

A Ukrainian serviceman stands on a destroyed bridge between the village of Dytiatky and Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 5, 2022. 

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Eight of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors remain operational, including two reactors that are under the control of occupied Russian forces in Zaporizhzhya. The others remain shut down for “regular maintenance.”