Ukraine has lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site amidst Russia’s attack, the Associated Press reports. Speaking to the outlet on Thursday (Feb. 24), Presidential Adviser Mykhailo Podolyak said he does not know the current condition of facilities at the site.
“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.
The news arrives hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky confirmed Russian soldiers were trying to seize the site of the worst nuclear accident in history on Thursday.
“Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” he said in a tweeted statement, adding, “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
Over three decades ago, the explosion of a nuclear reactor at the site, dubbed the 1986 Chernobyl disaster, led radioactive waste to spread across the entire continent. The plant was later decommissioned and the reactor was covered by a protective shelter to prevent future radiation leaks.
As reported by REVOLT, Russian president Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale attack on Ukraine on Wednesday (Feb. 23). Explosions were reported in several Ukrainian cities on Thursday morning, leaving at least 40 people dead.
In a statement on Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden condemned the “unprovoked and unjustified attack.”
“The prayers of the world are with the people of Ukraine tonight as they suffer an unprovoked and unjustified attack by Russian military forces. President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” he said.
“Russia alone is responsible for the death and destruction this attack will bring and the United States and its Allies and partners will respond in a united and decisive way,” Biden added. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”
The president is expected to meet with his G7 counterparts today and “announce the further consequences the United States and our Allies and partners will impose on Russia,” including harsh sanctions, “for this needless act of aggression against Ukraine and global peace and security.”