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More than 10,000 hectares of forest are burning in the Chornobyl Exclusion zone. This threatens Ukraine, Belarus and Europe with radiation

Sunday, 27 March 2022, 17:39

This was stated by Liudmyla Denisova, Commissioner for Human Rights to the Ukrainian Parliament. 

"More than ten thousand acres of forest are burning in the exclusion zone near the Chornobyl nuclear power plant due to military operations. 31 individual fires have been recorded, which is leading to increased levels of radioactive particle pollution in the air. It is currently impossible to contain and put out the fires due to the occupation of the exclusion zone by Russian forces.

As a result of the burning, radionuclides (unstable radio-active particles) are being released into the atmosphere, which can then be carried over great distances by the wind. This causes a risk of radioactive contamination for Ukraine, Belarus and other European countries " she stressed. 


"Due to the windy, dry weather, the intensity and area of the fires will increase, which could result in fires on a scale that would be hard to manage even in peacetime.

There is also a risk that the flames may engulf the spent nuclear fuel and nuclear waste storage facilities that are located in the Chornobyl area.'' added Denisova. 

She appealed to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send experts and equipment to Ukraine as quickly as possible to extinguish the fire "to avoid irreparable harm not just for Ukraine, but for the whole world". 

"Catastrophic consequences can only be prevented by the immediate de-occupation of the area by the Russian forces. This is why I am also calling on international human rights organisations to put pressure on the Russian Federation to stop its military aggression against Ukraine and de-occupy high-risk areas", she added.