“When I came to the office today in the morning (in Kyiv), it turned out that the (Chernobyl nuclear power plant) management had left. So there was no one to give instructions or defend,” she said.
Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that Russian forces were attempting to wrest control of the nuclear plant.
“Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl (nuclear power plant). Our defenders are sacrificing their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelensky tweeted.”This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry echoed the President’s warning, raising the specter of another nuclear disaster in the city.
“In 1986, the world saw the biggest technological disaster in Chernobyl,” the ministry tweeted. “If Russia continues the war, Chernobyl can happen again in 2022.”
In the months after the accident, a sarcophagus was built to cover Reactor 4 and contain the radioactive material. However, it has since deteriorated, resulting in radiation leaks.
Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine before dawn Thursday with a series of missile attacks against locations near the capital Kyiv, as well as long-range artillery against the city of Kharkiv, near the Russian border. The assault quickly spread across central and eastern Ukraine as Russian forces attacked the country from three sides.