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Russian Forces Leave Sign Warning Of 'Surprise' At Chernobyl

Russian Forces Leave Sign Warning Of 'Surprise' At Chernobyl

Retreating Russian forces have reportedly left behind a 'maze' of landmines at the infamous nuclaer diaster site

Russian soldiers who had been occupying the Chernobyl nuclear power plant may have left a trail of landmines behind as they retreated, a Ukrainian official has warned.

President Vladimir Putin’s forces were quick to secure the disaster site in the early days of the invasion of Ukraine, holding workers hostage for more than a month before finally retreating from the area on 31 March.

Now, according to video footage collected by the Ukrainian Witness media group — a project dedicated to documenting the ongoing conflict — it appears highly likely that retreating forces have booby-trapped the area as they departed.

As the Russian soldiers left, they daubed the walls of the Chernobyl complex and abandoned vehicles with graffiti that read “this passage is mined” and “expect a surprise, look for a mine”.

This means that nuclear safety staff working at the site are still in danger, due to the heightened risk of radiation and the potential for explosions caused by the mines.

Maksym Shevchuk, deputy head of Ukraine’s State Agency for Exclusion Zone Management, told the i: "Our sappers are now working on the de-mining of key locations and checking everything it is possible to check."

He also explained that ‘for now people are using only well-known routes and asphalt roads’ in order to avoid any hidden landmines.

The news comes amid a warning from President Volodymyr Zelenskyy earlier this week that Russian forces had been laying mines throughout 'the whole territory'.

YouTube/Ukrainian Witness

"They are mining homes, mining equipment, even the bodies of people who were killed," he said in a statement following the news that the occupiers were retreating from Kyiv. "There are a lot of trip wires, and a lot of other dangers."

But while Russian forces may have held onto the site of the infamous nuclear disaster for more than a month, that doesn’t mean that they didn’t suffer for it in the process.

Several weeks ago, it was reported by a member of the Exclusion Zone management team that dozens of occupying Russian troops had fallen ill with radiation poisoning after reportedly breathing in radioactive dust in the area while digging trenches and fortifying their position. 

Yaroslav Yemelianenko, the CEO of the Chernobyl Tour and member of the State Agency of Ukraine on Exclusion Zone Management, wrote in a Facebook post on 31 March that 'another batch of irradiated Russian terrorists who captured the Chernobyl zone' had been brought to the Belarusian Centre for Radiation Medicine and Human Ecology in Gomel that day.

"Digging the trenches in the Rudu forest, b*****s? Now live the rest of your short life with this," wrote Yaroslav Yemelianenko on Facebook. "There are rules of handling this territory."

He added: "They are mandatory to perform because radiation is physics – it works regardless of status or chases. If you have minimal intelligence in command or soldiers, these consequences could have been avoided."

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: Ukrainian Witness

Topics: Ukraine