Last Russian troops leave Chernobyl plant

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Kyiv: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said after Russian troops withdrew from the north and center of the country, the situation has been heating up in the southeast where Russian forces are building up for new powerful attacks.

In his daily video address to the nation Thursday, Zelenskyy said it was heartening for all Ukrainians to see Russian troops retreating from north of Kyiv, from around the northern town of Chernihiv, and from Sumy in the northeast. But he urged Ukrainians not to let up, saying the withdrawal was just a Russian tactic.

“We all want to win,” Zelenskyy added. “But there will be battles ahead. We still have to go through a very difficult path ahead to get everything we are striving for.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Ukraine is seeing “a buildup of Russian forces for new strikes on the Donbas, and we are preparing for that.” Meanwhile, a convoy of buses headed to Mariupol in another bid to evacuate people from the besieged port city after the Russian military agreed to a limited cease-fire in the area.

Talks between Ukraine and Russia were set to resume Friday by video, according to the head of the Ukrainian delegation, David Arakhamia, six weeks into a bloody war that has seen thousands die and a staggering four million Ukrainians flee the country.

Meanwhile, the last Russian troops left the Chernobyl nuclear plant early Friday, according to the Ukrainian government agency responsible for the exclusion zone around the plant.

Russian troops began leaving the Chernobyl nuclear plant after soldiers got “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches at the highly contaminated site, Energoatom – Ukraine’s state power company said Thursday as heavy fighting raged on the outskirts of Kyiv and other fronts.

The International Atomic Energy Agency says it has been informed by Ukraine that the Russian forces which were in control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant have “in writing, transferred control” of the facility to Ukrainian personnel. The troops “panicked at the first sign of illness,” which “showed up very quickly,” and began to prepare to leave, Energoatom, the operator, said.

The Russians seized the Chernobyl site in the opening stages of the Feb. 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 exploded reactor.

Image courtesy of (Image Courtesy: AP)

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