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Ukraine: Russians begin to withdraw from Chernobyl nuclear site

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A senior Pentagon official said Wednesday that Russian forces have begun withdrawing from the Chernobyl nuclear site, which they took control of on the first day of the February 24 invasion of Ukraine. According to the United States, the soldiers are repositioning themselves on Belarus.

Russian forces are beginning to withdraw from the Chernobyl nuclear site, which they took control of on the first day of the invasion of Ukraine on February 24, a senior Pentagon official said on Wednesday. The Russian army has started to withdraw from Gostomel airport, northwest of kyiv, and “Chernobyl is another area where they are starting to reposition themselves, leaving Chernobyl to go to Belarus”, told the press this senior official having requested anonymity. “We think they are leaving, I can’t tell you if they are all gone,” he added.

End of data from the central

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has ceased, since March 9, to receive live data from Chernobyl. She worried Sunday about the lack of staff turnover at the plant since March 20. The plant’s number 4 reactor exploded in 1986, causing the worst civilian nuclear disaster in history. It is covered with a double sarcophagus, one built by the Soviets and now damaged, the other, more modern, inaugurated in 2019.

The plant’s other three reactors were gradually shut down after the disaster, the last in 2000. Antonov military airport in Gostomel was attacked by Russian forces on February 25, the day after the invasion began from Ukraine.

The United States believes that the Russians are repositioning themselves in Belarus

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby also indicated that “less than 20%” of the Russian forces whose advance on kyiv was prevented by the Ukrainian resistance “began to reposition themselves” in the direction of Belarus. “We estimate that they are repositioning themselves in Belarus. We don’t have an exact number, but this is our preliminary estimate,” added John Kirby during a press briefing, stressing that none of the units seemed leave the surroundings of Ukraine.

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“It’s not a detail,” he noted. “If the Russians were serious about de-escalation, because that’s what they claim, they would send them home. But that’s not what they’re doing.” Moscow, which says it wants to focus on the Donbass region, where the separatist areas of Donetsk and Lugansk are located, has pledged to “radically reduce (its) military activity in the direction of kyiv and Cherniguiv”, in the north of country. However, the bombardments have not ceased, particularly in the east of the country and around kyiv, noted John Kirby.

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