Russian troops have destroyed decades of Chernobyl data, Ukrainian officials say

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Russian Armed Forces destroyed data stored for decades Chernobyl nuclear power plant (NPP) after troops occupied the area for 35 days, Ukrainian officials reported this week.

“This is all that is left of our Chernobyl documents and archives. What we’ve been collecting for decades, some whores just threw in the trash,” Oleksandr Syrota, head of the Public Council of Ukraine’s State Agency for Exclusion Zone Management, said in a translated Facebook post on Thursday.

A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in Chernobyl, Ukraine November 22, 2018.
(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo)

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State agency officials released images of trash cans said to be full of documents, along with images showing missing servers monitoring radiation levels in the area.

The United Nations nuclear guardian, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said Russian forces, which had occupied Chernobyl since the first day of the invasion on February 24, had evacuated the area.

Russian troops left Chernobyl last week after Russian negotiators said troops would withdraw from areas around the capital Kyiv and the northern city of Chernihiv, some 55 miles from Chernobyl.

Ukraine informed the IAEA on Thursday that it had started the “process to resume official control of the NPP.”

The IAEA said it intends to visit the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster “as soon as it is possible to assess the radiation situation”.

Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces and special forces train while simulating a crisis situation in an urban settlement in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine, February 4, 2022.

Ukrainian National Guard, Armed Forces and special forces train while simulating a crisis situation in an urban settlement in the abandoned city of Pripyat near the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, Ukraine, February 4, 2022.
(AP Photo/Mikola Tymchenko, file)

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Ukrainian officials have been warning for weeks that unprotected Russian forces are kicking up clouds of radioactive dust by driving armored vehicles through an area known as the “Red Forest.”

And recent drone footage reportedly showed that trenches had been dug in “contaminated areas” throughout the exclusion zone.

The nuclear watchdog said he has not been able to independently verify reports suggesting Russian forces received “high doses” of radiation.

“It is of paramount importance that the IAEA travels to Chernobyl so that we can take urgent action to assist Ukraine in ensuring nuclear safety there,” said Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. “I am in close consultation with our Ukrainian colleagues to organize such a visit as soon as possible.”

A Ukrainian soldier stands on a destroyed bridge between the village of Dytiatky and Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 5, 2022.

A Ukrainian soldier stands on a destroyed bridge between the village of Dytiatky and Chernobyl, Ukraine, April 5, 2022.

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Eight of Ukraine’s nuclear reactors remain operational, including two reactors that are under the control of the occupied Russian forces in Zaporizhia. The others remain shut down for “regular maintenance”.

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