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Russian troops leaving Chernobyl, plant operator reports

Russian troops leaving Chernobyl, plant operator reports
Russian troops are leaving the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (pictured) and surrounding area, Ukraine's state-run energy agency said Thursday, adding it appeared as though they were heading to the Belarusian border. File Photo by Russian Defence Ministry EPA/EFE

March 31 (UPI) -- Russian military forces are leaving the Chernobyl nuclear plant and surrounding area, the Ukrainian state energy agency Energoatom said Thursday.

"Russians are going to leave the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and its satellite city Slavutych," the company said in an online posting.

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"This morning, the invaders announced their intentions to leave the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to Ukrainian station personnel. It was confirmed that the occupiers, who seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and other facilities in the Exclusion Zone, marched in two columns towards the Ukrainian border with the Republic of Belarus."

The company said Russian soldiers built fortifications in the nearby Red Forest, referring to the area as the "most polluted in the entire Exclusion Zone."

"So it is not surprising that the occupiers received significant doses of radiation and panicked at the first sign of illness. And it manifested itself very quickly. As a result, almost a riot broke out among the military, and they began to gather from there," the statement reads.

The Russian military seized control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station in central Ukraine early on in the invasion. The site of the world's worst nuclear disaster has intermittently lost power since then, causing concerns about a possible radiation leak.

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Staff at the facility had not been able to leave throughout the Russian occupation.

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