Russian troops gave control of Chernobyl’s nuclear power plant to the Ukrainians on Friday. This was more than a month ago, Ukrainian authorities stated. Fighting continued at the outskirts Kyiv and other fronts.
Energoatom, Ukraine’s state power firm, stated that the evacuation at Chernobyl was caused by soldiers receiving “significant doses of radiation” from digging trenches within the forest around the closed plant. However, there was no independent confirmation.
The Kremlin has been using de-escalation talk in Ukraine to cover its actions, while it regroups, supplies and deploys its forces for an intensified offensive in the east.
Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, said that Russian withdrawals from the center and north of the country were a military tactic and the forces are preparing for more powerful attacks in the southeast.
In his nightly video address, Zelenskyy stated that “We know their intentions.” “We know they are shifting away from the areas where we hit them to concentrate on other, very crucial ones where it may prove difficult for us.”
He added, “There will be fights ahead.”
A convoy of 45 buses was also heading to Mariupol to help evacuate the people trapped in the city. This happened after the Russian military had agreed to a temporary cease-fire. According to the Ukrainian government, 631 people were not able to escape the city by private vehicles after Russian forces stopped the buses.
Twelve Ukrainian buses were capable of transporting 14 tons of food, medical supplies and other aid to Mariupol. However, Russian troops seized the aid, Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Veselchuk reported late Thursday.
This city has seen some of the most horrific sufferings of the war. In the last few weeks, thousands of people have managed to escape Mariupol via humanitarian corridors. This has reduced its population from 430,000 prewar to around 100,000. However, other relief efforts have been blocked by Russian aggression.
Five weeks after the conflict that left thousands of people dead and drove 4 million Ukrainians out of the country, a new round was scheduled for Friday.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, it was informed by Ukraine that Russian forces had handed over control of the area of the worst nuclear accident in history.
According to the Ukrainian government agency, the last Russian troops left Chernobyl’s plant on Friday morning.
Energoatom did not provide any details about the conditions of soldiers that it claimed were exposed to radiation, nor did it say how many. The Kremlin did not immediately respond to the inquiry. The IAEA also said that it was unable to confirm reports of high radiation doses being administered by Russian troops. It stated that it was looking for more information.
In the early stages of the invasion on February 24, Russian forces captured Chernobyl. There were fears that they could cause radiation-related damage or disruption. The site’s workforce oversees safe storage of spent fuel rods as well as concrete-encased remains of the 1986 reactor explosion.
Edwin Lyman is a nuclear expert from the U.S-based Union of Concerned Scientists. He said that it seemed unlikely that a large number of troops would contract severe radiation sickness, but that it was impossible without more information.
He stated that contaminated material had probably been buried or covered up with new topsoil in the cleanup of Chernobyl. Some soldiers might have been exposed while digging. He said that others may have believed they were at the same risk.
The Russians announced early this week that they would reduce military operations in the areas around Kyiv, and the northern city Chernihiv, to increase trust and facilitate negotiations.
On Thursday, Oleksandr Palviuk, the regional governor of Kyiv, stated on social media that Russian forces had shelled Irpin & Makariv and that there was fighting around Hostomel. Pavliuk claimed that there were counterattacks from Ukraine and some Russian withdrawals in the area of Brovary to east.
Chernihiv was also attacked. According to Lyudmyla Denisova, Ukrainian Human Rights Commissioner Lyudmyla, at least one person was injured and at least one died in the Russian bombardment of a convoy of buses that were sent to Chernihiv for humanitarian purposes to evacuate people who had been cut off from food and water.
Ukraine also reported Russian artillery fires around Kharkiv, in the northeastern part of Ukraine.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated that intelligence shows Russia isn’t scaling back military operations in Ukraine, but rather trying to regroup, replenish its forces and strengthen its offensive in Donbas.
Stoltenberg stated that Russia has repeatedly lied about their intentions. He said that pressure was being maintained on Kyiv, as well as other cities, so “we can expect further offensive actions to bring more suffering.”
The Donbas, a predominantly Russian-speaking region in which separatists fought Ukrainian forces since 2014, is where Moscow-backed separatists are based. The Kremlin has stated that it is now aiming to regain control of the Donbas. This includes the Donetsk, Luhansk, and Mariupol regions.
According to Russian state news agencies a top rebel leader in Donetsk Denis Pushilin issued an order for the establishment of a rival city government in Mariupol. This was a sign that Russia intends to control and manage the city.
Talks between Russia and Ukraine were set to resume via video. There was little hope that they would be able to resolve the conflict soon.
After a telephone conversation with Vladimir Putin, the Russian President stated that conditions were not yet “ripe” to allow for a ceasefire. He also said that he was not ready for a meeting of Zelenskyy until negotiations are completed.
Other developments include the announcement by the emergency services of Ukraine that the death toll from a Russian missile strike on Tuesday against a Mykolaiv government building was now 20.
Officials from the West are trying to find clues as to Russia’s next move. A top British intelligence official stated that demoralized Russian soldiers living in Ukraine refuse to follow ordersand sabotage their equipment. They also accidentally shot down their own plane.
Jeremy Fleming of the GCHQ electronic surveillance agency stated that Putin had “massively misjudged the invasion” in a speech he gave in Australia.
Thursday’s Pentagon report stated that a first half-dozen weapons and security assistance shipments from the U.S. were sent to Ukraine under President Joe Biden’s $800 million package.
According to John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesperson, the shipments contained Javelin antitank weapons, Stinger antiaircraft missile systems, and body armor.
U.S intelligence officers concluded thatPutin was being misinformed about the dire state of the war by his advisors because they fear telling the truth.
Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin spokesperson, said that the U.S. is wrong. “Neither the State Department nor Pentagon possess the true information about what is going on in the Kremlin.”