Workers at the Chernobyl nuclear site said that Russian soldiers kicked up clouds of radioactive dust while driving through the toxic “Red Forest” zone without radiation protection.
Russian tanks entered Chernobyl, which is located about 65 miles north of Ukrainian capital Kyiv, on Feb. 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but new details of the seizure of Chernobyl’s nuclear plant are just emerging, according to Reuters.
Soldiers drove armored vehicles through the Red Forest, causing an increase in radiation levels due to the resulting disturbance of radioactive soil around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.
The Russian convoy did not use any anti-radiation gear while taking Chernobyl, which was “suicidal,” according to Chernobyl employees.
One employee said that the radioactive dust inhaled by Russian soldiers is likely to result in internal radiation in their bodies.
Despite the Russian invasion, Chernobyl staff members are still working to safely manage spent nuclear fuel at the site and monitoring the remains of the reactor that blew up more than 35 years ago.
The Russian government has insisted that radiation remains within normal levels after its capture of Chernobyl.
The Russian military claims that its seizure of Chernobyl prevented “nuclear provocations” that may have been planned by Ukrainian nationalists.
Dozens of nuclear plant workers were permitted to go home last week after roughly 600 hours at the facility following its seizure by Russian forces.