Russia has invaded Ukraine, attacking major cities from the shared border and traveling through Belarus. Among their targets, is the abandoned city of Pripyat where the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant is located. That's where the worst civil nuclear disaster in history took place.
Russian troops are trying to seize control of the abandoned nuclear power plant itself, according to the president of Ukraine. This comes just hours after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
“Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the Chornobyl nuclear power plant. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Volodymyr Zelensky said in a statement. “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
The number of victims and the scope of this assault are currently unknown.
At a time when many are calling on cutting off the continent's dependence on Russian fossil fuels and investment in renewable and nuclear power (seen as a cheap and necessary step to decarbonize the European economy), this news will cause concerns.
The specter of the Chernobyl disaster still haunts Europe. Back in 1986, 30 people died immediately following the reactor meltdown and several thousand might have had a reduced life span in the following decades because of the Soviet Union's failures in dealing with the disaster.