It takes its name from the color trees take on when exposed to radiation. The Red Forest is located in the immediate vicinity of the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which was the scene of the most dangerous nuclear accident in history in 1986. It is one of the most radioactive areas in the world. This did not prevent the Russians from digging trenches there as part of the invasion of Ukraine, as confirmed, Wednesday, by a photographer in support of the Ukrainian General Staff.
Fortifications and trenches
On February 24, the first day of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Vladimir Putin’s forces took control of the former nuclear power plant, which is now surrounded by an exclusion zone with a radius of 30 km. Five weeks later, the same Russian forces announced that they were leaving the factory. And the local media had then pointed the finger at the radiation that the soldiers were exposed to, without their knowledge of the accident that took place there, to justify this rush to leave. Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced the opening of an investigation to confirm or not confirm these allegations.
On BFMTV on April 1, Petro Kotin, head of the state-owned Ukrainian Nuclear Energy Corporation, noted that several Russian soldiers had begun building “fortifications in this forest where the radioactivity is very high”.
“The Russians entered the forest, the area most exposed to radiation during the disaster. This is where the fuel pieces fell after the explosion. There are also burial places for highly radioactive nuclear waste (…) so that only staying for 24 hours in this forest is enough,” Petro-Kotin said. to get sick.”
Until now, the media had few details about these “fortifications” dug by the Russians. But this Wednesday, the Ukrainian General Staff revealed through its Facebook account a video clip filmed in this red forest, where we clearly notice the effects of a military occupation of the site. The video, which appears to have been filmed by a drone, then tilts the lens to show the immediate proximity to the plant, which features the imposing metal sarcophagus in which reactor No. 4 was covered.
“Video confirmation: Russians dug trenches and caponières (military fortifications, editor’s note) around the Chernobyl area,” details the caption accompanying the video.
Evidence of excavation of fortifications in the Red Forest indicates that Russian soldiers were exposed to significant levels of radiation. As reported by Reuters news agency, the Red Forest is so polluted that even employees working in Chernobyl are not allowed to venture there, although they have special permits.
An employee working at the old factory told the news agency that the convoys of Russian vehicles also contributed to the increase in radioactivity levels.
He noted that “a large convoy of military vehicles used a road directly behind the factory, and this road passes in front of the Red Forest. The convoy raised a large amount of dust, and many detectors revealed high levels of radioactivity.”
Documents have been destroyed
A March 2016 report, published by the Institute for Nuclear Radiation Protection (IRSN), outlines the severity of the site. “In Chernobyl, the forest occupying 53% of the exclusion zone covering an area of 2,600 square kilometers that was created after the accident was irreparably damaged. In the first weeks after the accident, 90% of the pine trees died, creating the “Red Forest” In an area of 6 square kilometers and in an area of 38 square kilometers (…]40-75% of the trees turned brown and 95% were affected in their growth. Among the clean-ups, dead trees were cut down and buried on an area of 4 square kilometers.”
The Ukrainian government agency responsible for the Chernobyl exclusion zone, for its part, shared on Facebook several photos of the site that has been emptied of its Russian occupants. There are many processes of destroying installations and files.
Original article published on BFMTV.com