Ukraine alerts world to higher radiation levels after Russia seizes Chernobyl

25 February 2022, 09:23 | Updated: 25 February 2022, 09:28

Higher radiation levels have been detected after Russia seized Chernobyl, Ukraine's parliament says
Higher radiation levels have been detected after Russia seized Chernobyl, Ukraine's parliament says. Picture: Alamy/Verkhovna Rada

By Will Taylor

Radiation levels have risen above control levels after Russia seized Chernobyl in its invasion, Ukraine’s parliament has warned.

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The Verkhovna Rada said a "number of observation points" in Ukraine had recorded the higher dose rates, and posted a map with red dots where the levels had been detected.

It was unclear if that was triggered because of the invasion, but comes after Kiev raised fears about Russian artillery causing damage to Chernobyl, the site of the devastating nuclear accident in 1986, during fierce fighting.

Ukraine has launched a determined effort to resist the invaders throughout the country.

"Data from the automated radiation monitoring system of the exclusion zone, which is available online, indicate that the control levels of gamma radiation dose rate (red dots) have been exceeded at a significant number of observation points," the Verkhovna Rada's Twitter account posted on Friday morning.

"But now it is currently impossible to establish the reasons for the change in the radiation background in the exclusion zone because of the occupation and military fight in this territory."

Russia has reportedly claimed the radiation levels are normal.

Read more: Russia 'failed its invasion objectives' on day one as Ukraine mounts fierce fightback

Read more: Ukraine: 'Hundreds killed' and Russian forces march on Kiev as invasion enters day two

Russia seized the territory, which is north of the capital Kiev, on Thursday.

According to an adviser to Ukraine's ground forces commander they have taken workers there "hostage".

The Chernobyl site holds a nuclear reactor which has been entombed in a steel and concrete sarcophagus after it exploded in 1986. The disaster sent a radioactive cloud across Europe.

The US has raised fears that the military takeover of Chernobyl could harm maintenance of the site.

The invasion of Ukraine has entered day two, with Russian troops moving in on Kiev after a bombardment of missiles early on Friday.

Forces are invading from the north, via Belarus, the east, and from occupied Crimea in the south.

Western leaders have launched sanctions on Russia in response to the invasion, which Moscow carried out after demanding Ukraine never join Nato.

Putin has been accused of waging an imperialist war of aggression, seeking to overthrow the democratically elected government in Kiev and dominate the country, having controlled it as part of the Soviet Union and during its days of empire.

More than 130 Ukrainian soldiers and civilians were reported as killed, while the UK estimates some 450 Russian troops lost their lives.

The British Ministry of Defence believes Russia failed to take its key objectives on day one.

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