SOCHI, Russia — Russia’s Protection Ministry stated in a press release on Friday that its paratroopers had taken management of the territory across the former Chernobyl nuclear plant in northern Ukraine and had been working with Ukrainian guards to make sure the protection of its services, contradicting Ukrainian claims that Russian forces had been holding the plant’s personnel hostage.
“The radiation stage across the nuclear plant is inside limits,” Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov, the ministry’s spokesman, stated in a statement. “The plant’s workers continues to service its services and monitor radioactivity.”
Ukraine’s government-run nuclear watchdog confirmed in a statement that Russian forces captured the world across the former plant, including that each one services “are underneath management and are being serviced by the plant’s workers.”
Earlier Ukrainian officers stated that they “took its workers hostage.”
“This places not solely Ukrainian, however European safety underneath menace,” said Alyona Shevtsova, a Ukrainian army official.
Chernobyl was the scene of the worst nuclear accident in historical past, when an explosion and fire in 1986 destroyed one of many plant’s reactors. The plant hasn’t produced electrical energy in additional than 20 years, and far of the tools has been eliminated.
In Moscow, the Russian protection ministry stated that “joint actions of Russian paratroopers and servicemen of the Ukrainian guards battalion will assure that nationalist formations and different terrorist organizations wouldn’t benefit from the continuing state of affairs within the nation to prepare a nuclear provocation.”
Within the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, Mikhailo Podolyak, a spokesman for the Ukrainian presidential workplace, contradicted that declare. He stated the Ukrainian authorities had acquired info that Russian saboteurs “deliberate to conduct a terrorist act on the Chernobyl plant to trigger a robust environmental disaster.”
“It’s clear that Russia not solely desires to depose the federal government and changed it with some puppet executors,” stated Mr. Podolyak. “It desires to trigger most destruction in Ukraine, even of environmental nature.”
The 2 international locations additionally made opposing statements concerning the ongoing army motion.
Because the begin of the Russian incursion on Thursday, its forces had destroyed 118 army services in Ukraine, Common Konashenkov stated in a televised assertion. These services included 11 army airfields, 13 army headquarters and communication nodes, 13 surface-to-air missile techniques and 36 radars. He additionally stated Russian forces have downed 5 Ukrainian warplanes, one helicopter and 5 drones, in addition to 18 tanks and different armored automobiles.
Greater than 150 Ukrainian servicemen gave up arms, the assertion stated.
In Kyiv, the spokesman for Ukraine’s presidential workplace denied any claims of the Ukrainian retreat, saying that the nation’s troopers “exhibit implausible heroism.”