several hundred Russian soldiers They had to hastily withdraw from Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Ukraine after being exposed to “acute radiation sickness” from contaminated soil, according to Ukrainian officials.
Troops, who were reported to have dug trenches in a polluted red forest near the site of the worst nuclear disaster in history, are now being treated at a private medical facility in Gomel, Belarus. The forest is so named because thousands of pine trees turned red during the 1986 nuclear disaster. The area is so toxic that even highly specialized Chernobyl workers are not allowed into the area.
Local reports indicate that seven buses with the express forces arrived in Gomel early Thursday. Journalists on the ground also reported “ghost buses” of dead soldiers being transported from Belarus to Russia under cover of darkness.
On Wednesday, US intelligence reported that Russian forces had begun withdrawing from the defunct outpost. Russia said the withdrawal from Chernobyl was part of a pledge to scale back the invasion. But the Ukrainian media says that the reason is in fact that the troops were “exposed to radiation” from the contaminated soil.
Yaroslav Yemelianenko, who works on the public council of the Ukrainian state agency for the management of the exclusion zone, posted on Facebook “another batch of radiation-exposed Russian terrorists who captured the Chernobyl region to the Belarusian radiological center in Gomel today.” “There are rules for dealing with this area.”
The Chernobyl facility fell under Russian control on February 24, the first day of the invasion. The workers were on duty for more than 600 hours before they were allowed to change shifts. International concern immediately increased when Russian forces moved heavy military equipment through the area, raising radioactive dust without any protective equipment. Forest fires in the area have also raised concerns about environmental pollution.
Trenching in the forest – considered the most polluted area of the site – drew widespread ridicule from the Ukrainians working on the site.
The disaster is the latest in a series of gaffes before Russian forces are struggling to maintain a foothold in their increasingly unsuccessful war.
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