Ukraine Warns Of ‘Ecological Disaster’ As Russian Troops Attack Chernobyl

The world’s most excellent nuclear disaster site is now in the hands of Russian forces, and Ukrainian officials are fearful of another “ecological disaster. A monitoring station reports a 20-fold spike in radiation levels at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant. A major accident in 1986 released radiation that contaminated some 150,000 square kilometers, and a 30-kilometer area around the site is still essentially uninhabited.

Analysts say another nuclear disaster at Chernobyl is improbable. The surge in radiation levels may be from troops and heavy military equipment stirring radioactive dust that is still prevalent in the region. The doomed reactor number four at Chernobyl is now covered by a massive protective dome, but this shield was not designed to be safe in a war zone.

Its purpose is to keep the decaying radioactive materials inside, not keep military forces outside.

According to scientists, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the Russian assault on the facility, which still smolders like the embers in a barbecue pit, a “declaration of war against the whole of Europe.” Ukrainian officials say it is wrong to think that the site is safe even now. The soil in the area remains contaminated, though studies show animal populations are coming back.

Experts also recognize that Russia does not want nuclear material lying around if planning a protracted occupation.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it monitors the Russian invasion and calls for “maximum restraint” to operate Ukraine’s nuclear facilities securely. It’s the active nuclear reactors that have monitoring agencies more concerned.

Which begs the obvious question. Why would Putin’s forces attack a radioactive wasteland in the first place? Do they get the History Channel in Russia?

Analysts say their motivation is that the tragic site is strategically located between Belarus and Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. On its own, it’s a worthless piece of land, but like all real estate, it’s all about location. Chernobyl is less than 10 miles from the border with Belarus, a Russian ally and staging area for its troops over the past several weeks preparing for Thursday’s invasion. Once that area was taken, it’s now a relatively open 80 miles south of Kyiv.

And Gostomel Airport, about 15 miles east of the city, is already in Russian hands after a fierce attack.

It is a strong signal that sanctions by Biden and the West have zero effect on the Kremlin’s plans, and they want to surround the capital. Stay tuned.