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Russian troops are abandoning the site of the former Chernobyl Power Plant, the US has said.
One of the first areas they took control of was Chernobyl, the site of the 1986 disaster, with hundreds of workers being taken hostage.
However, a US official has said Russian forces have now been seen leaving the plant.
They told the told AFP news agency: "Chernobyl is (an) area where they are beginning to reposition some of their troops – leaving, walking away from the Chernobyl facility and moving into Belarus.
"We think that they are leaving, I can't tell you that they're all gone."
An employee of the Public Council at the State Agency of Ukraine for Exclusion Zone Management has also said Russian troops had been 'irradiated'.
In a post to Facebook, Yaroslav Yemelianenko said: "Another batch of radiation irradiation of Russian terrorists who captured the Chernobyl zone was brought to the Belarusian centre of radiation medicine in Gomel today.
"Digging the trenches in the Rudu forest, b*****s? Now live the rest of your short life with this. There are rules of handling this territory.
"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."
This comes after workers at the site described Russian troops as 'suicidal' for driving armoured vehicles through one of the most dangerous parts of the area surrounding Chernobyl without proper protection.
The workers' accounts reveal further details behind a warning issued by Ukraine's nuclear inspectorate earlier this month, which stated that increased radiation levels had been detected at Chernobyl after Russian tanks disturbed the soil.
Two workers who were on duty at the time said the troops drove through an area known as the Red Forest, which remains so contaminated that even staff at Chernobyl are unable to enter.
Speaking anonymously to Reuters, which has not been able to verify the claims, one of the workers said: "A big convoy of military vehicles drove along a road right behind our facility and this road goes past the Red Forest.
"The convoy kicked up a big column of dust. Many radiation safety sensors showed exceeded levels."
The Red Forest gained its name for the trees that turned red as a result of radiation exposure following the explosion at Chernobyl in 1986.
"Nobody goes there... for God's sake. There is no one there," Valery Seida, acting general director of the Chernobyl plant, said of the area.
Seida said he could not say for certain whether Russian troops entered the forest, but said 'they drove wherever they needed to'.
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Featured Image Credit: Alamy
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