The Chornobyl disaster occurred on the night of April 26, 1986. Thirty-six years into the tragedy at the NPP, a new explosion threat emerged due to the war unleashed by Russia against Ukraine.
On April 26, 1986, two explosions rocked Power Unit 4 of the Chornobyl NPP, completely destroying the reactor. In the fallout, a radioactive cloud has formed, covering, besides Ukraine, the then Soviet Republics of Belarus and Russia, as well as a significant part of European countries.
Early in the morning of February 24, 2022, the Russian Federation attacked Ukraine. By the end of the first day of the war, information emerged that Russia was preparing a terrorist attack on the Chornobyl nuclear power plant.
Russian invaders had been in control of the Chornobyl plant for five weeks. During this period, local fires broke out in the Chornobyl exclusion zone. Ukraine could not put them out because of the Russian occupation. In addition, the NPP was disconnected from the power grid and deprived of electricity, which is needed in particular to cool the spent fuel. All this could have led to a catastrophe of global proportions.
While stationed at the facility, the Russian troops switched off power supplies, and all equipment was running on generators. In addition, despite the conscious risk, they used the Chornobyl zone to transport and stockpile ammunition and house the command posts for their troops. Almost immediately after the occupation troops invaded the exclusion zone, the level of radiation pollution spiked as Russian heavy military vehicles stirred up radioactive dust.
Even though, on March 31, 2022, Russian troops pulled out of the Chornobyl NPP, the threat of a global catastrophe hasn’t gone away. The Russian army retains control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s biggest, as well as continuously launching missile strikes on other areas of Ukraine, where other nuclear plants are also located.
The war in Ukraine is not a local conflict but a threat to entire civilized Europe. The 1986 Chornobyl disaster spewed radiation over much of northern Europe and claimed thousands of lives. Russian incursions into Ukrainian nuclear plants are a red line. The aggressor must be stopped at any cost. Otherwise, our peaceful and prosperous life, which Europe has been building for decades, will come to an end.
Ukrainians are now going through challenging times, fighting for the well-being of not only their country but the whole of Europe. The only language Russia understands is the language of power, so we have no right to stand aside. We must unite and give Ukraine as many weapons and money as needed to stop the Russian military machine completely.