| 29 September 2022, Thursday |

Russian forces take control of Chernobyl workers’ town, three dead, Interfax Ukraine reports

According to the local mayor, Russian forces have taken control of Ukraine’s Slavutych, where workers at the defunct Chernobyl nuclear plant live, and three people have been killed, according to the Interfax Ukraine news agency.

Oleksandr Pavlyuk, the governor of Kyiv area, had already announced the capture in an online post.

The village is just outside a safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986, where Ukrainian employees have continued to administer the plant even after Russian forces took the land shortly after the invasion began on February 24.

Since today, Slavutych has been occupied. In a Facebook post, Interfax cited mayor Yuri Fomichev as saying, “We steadfastly defended our city… three deaths have been confirmed so far.” The number of casualties was not specified in the report.

In a statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency said it was closely following the situation and was concerned about the ability of workers to cycle in and out of the nuclear power plant.

Pavlyuk did not say how the village was taken, but he did say that some locals protested by raising a giant Ukrainian flag and shouting “Glory to Ukraine.”

He further said that Russians fired into the air and threw shock grenades into the crowd to disperse the protesters in the town’s center.

Slavutych elicited no instant response from Russia.

Oleksiy Arestovych, a presidential adviser for Ukraine, said the town had become a new battleground.

Ukraine announced on Friday that Russian soldiers had approached the town, which had a pre-war population of roughly 25,000 people, and had conducted an ineffective first offensive.

Moscow refers to its efforts in Ukraine as a “special military operation” aimed at disarming Ukraine. It is referred to as an unprovoked war of aggression by Kyiv and its Western backers.

  • Reuters