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Russian Troops Return Control of Chernobyl Back to Ukraine Amid De-Escalation

Russian Troops Return Control of Chernobyl Back to Ukraine Amid De-Escalation

Russian troops handed control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant back to the Ukrainians and began leaving the heavily contaminated site more than a month after taking it over, authorities said Thursday, as fighting raged on the outskirts of Kyiv and other fronts. The troops had seized the Chernobyl site in the opening stages of the February 24 invasion, raising fears that they would cause damage or disruption that could spread radiation. The workforce at the site oversees the safe storage of spent fuel rods and the concrete-entombed ruins of the reactor that exploded in 1986.

The withdrawal took place amid growing indications the Kremlin is using talk of de-escalation in Ukraine as cover while regrouping, resupplying its forces, and redeploying them for a stepped-up offensive in the eastern part of the country

 

TOPSHOT – A man walks in front of a destroyed building after a Russian missile attack in the town of Vasylkiv, near Kyiv, on February 27, 2022. – Ukraine’s foreign minister said on February 27, that Kyiv would not buckle at talks with Russia over its invasion, accusing President Vladimir Putin of seeking to increase “pressure” by ordering his nuclear forces on high alert. (Photo by DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the besieged country, the Ukrainian government sent 45 buses on Thursday to take civilians away from the besieged city of Mariupol, where evacuation efforts will be joined by Red Cross teams with aid supplies, according to Ukrainian Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk. President Volodymyr Zelenskyy pledged to fight for “every meter” of Ukrainian territory. At least 13 people have been injured in shelling in the eastern region of Donetsk, local authorities say. President Zelenskyy said Ukraine is seeing “a buildup of Russian forces for new strikes on the Donbas, and we are preparing for that.”

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