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Chernobyl Hero Who 'Saved The World' From Nuclear Disaster Is Now Running For His Life

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Chernobyl Hero Who 'Saved The World' From Nuclear Disaster Is Now Running For His Life

A Ukrainian man who helped prevent a second explosion during the Chernobyl disaster has had to flee his home amid Russia's ongoing invasion.

Alexai Ananenko – who also goes by Oleksiy – was a volunteer 'suicide diver' in the 1986 catastrophe, which saw a cataclysmic explosion take place at the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.

The 62-year-old is said to have been pivotal in stopping a second explosion from occurring.

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However, Ananenko, who is in need of surgery following a road accident four years ago, and his wife Valentina have now been forced from their home in Kyiv over fears of bombing from Russian forces.

Alexai Ananenko is forced to flee Russia with his wife amid Russia's ongoing invasion. (East2West News)
Alexai Ananenko is forced to flee Russia with his wife amid Russia's ongoing invasion. (East2West News)

Ananenko said he had just been 'doing [his] job' in putting himself forward for the 'suicide' mission to stem the Chernobyl disaster, The Mirror reports, and his efforts were documented in the drama miniseries Chernobyl that aired on Sky Atlantic in 2019.

After Reactor Number Four was destroyed in the explosion of the plant, it was discovered the reactor's core was seeping through the basement, which contained five million gallons of water.

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An explosion of 3-5 megatons could have been set off if the nuclear lava came into contact with the water, and so Ananenko and two colleagues waded through the toxic liquid to drain the water.

'I did my job and it’s nothing to brag about. I wasn’t scared because I focused on my duties. I had worked at Chernobyl for three years. I was worried that we would not find the right fittings but that fear quickly disappeared when the valves were marked. They opened relatively easily. We just opened the latches and immediately there was a noise. We understood the water was gone and we just had to go back,' he said.

Alexai Ananenko when he was young. (East2West News)
Alexai Ananenko when he was young. (East2West News)

In 2018, Ananenko was left in a coma for 36 days after he was hit by a car. The accident resulted in him having to re-learn how to walk.

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The coronavirus pandemic already meant that Ananenko's surgery in Kyiv was delayed. However, now it is uncertain whether the 62-year-old will ever receive it.

'First Covid disturbed our plans, now this damned Putler [Putin-Hitler] is destroying the kind and peaceful Ukrainian people,' Valentina stated.

Valentina said she has 'never been so offended by Russia' and 'cannot forgive this genocide of the Ukrainian people, this destruction of us as a people'.

Alexai Ananenko. (East2West News)
Alexai Ananenko. (East2West News)
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The couple are still searching for somewhere safe to settle in Ukraine, and have reportedly been travelling for two days so far.

Valentina said how 'painful' the pair found it to 'leave [their] motherland' and to 'leave the graves of relatives'.

She said: 'I'm not sure we will have a place to come back to. Right now we are at the border. I'm crying. So many of our relatives remain in Ukraine.

'We are heartbroken. It is so hard, like never before.'

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If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Featured Image Credit: East2West News

Topics: News, Ukraine, Russia, Chernobyl

Poppy Bilderbeck
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