AP

Ukraine nuclear operator: Russian troops leave Chernobyl

Mar 31, 2022, 8:33 AM | Updated: 9:02 am

FILE - A man walks past a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in ...

FILE - A man walks past a shelter covering the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Thursday, April 15, 2021. When fighting from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine resulted in power cuts to the critical cooling system at the closed Chernobyl nuclear power plant, some feared that spent nuclear fuel would overheat. But nuclear experts say there’s no imminent danger because time and physics are on safety's side. (AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

(AP Photo/Efrem Lukatsky, File)

LVIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops were leaving the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and heading towards Ukraine’s border with Belarus, the Ukrainian nuclear operator company said.

The operator, Energoatom said that the Russian military was also preparing to leave Slavutych, a nearby city where power plant workers live.

Energoatom also said reports were confirmed that the Russians dug trenches in the Red Forest, the 10-square-kilometer (nearly four-square-mile) area surrounding the Chernobyl plant within the Exclusion Zone, and received “significant doses of radiation.”

The Russian troops “panicked at the first sign of illness,” which “showed up very quickly,” and began to prepare to leave, the operator said. The claim couldn’t be independently verified.

Energoatom said the Russians have signed a document confirming the handover of the Chernobyl plant and stating that the plant’s administration doesn’t have any complaints about the Russian troops who were “guarding” the facility.

“It turns out that the occupiers ‘guarded’ the station for more than five weeks, and even so well that there are no complaints,” Energoatom said in a statement on Telegram.

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Ukraine nuclear operator: Russian troops leave Chernobyl