“It was very dangerous to act in this way,” said Maksym Shevchuck, the deputy head of the state agency managing the exclusion zone. He was scared by it all.
Here in the dirt of one of the world’s most radioactive places, Russian soldiers dug trenches. Ukrainian officials worry they were, in effect, digging their own graves.
Thousands of tanks and troops rumbled into the forested Chernobyl exclusion zone in the earliest hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February, churning up highly contaminated soil from the site of the 1986 accident that was the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
For more than a month, some Russian soldiers bunked in the earth within sight of the massive structure built to contain radiation from the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor. A close inspection of their trenches was impossible because even walking on the dirt is discouraged.
As the 36th anniversary of the April 26, 1986, disaster approaches and Russia’s invasion continues, it’s clear that Chernobyl — a relic of the Cold War — was never prepared for this.
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