CHERNOBYL, Ukraine (LifeSiteNews) – A skirmish inside the exclusion zone of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant has sparked speculation that Russia is attempting to seize the disused facility.
Chernobyl is located 80 miles north of Ukraine’s capital, Kiev.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote in a tweet at around 5PM local time that “Russian occupation forces are trying to seize” the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster, characterizing the move as “a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the #Chornobyl NPP. Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated. Reported this to @SwedishPM. This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.
— Володимир Зеленський (@ZelenskyyUa) February 24, 2022
The Ukrainian Ministry of Foreign Affairs followed up with its own tweet, stating that the Russian attack on Ukraine “may cause another ecological disaster,” owing to the historic nuclear fallout from the plant’s explosion nearly 40 years ago.
In 1986, the world saw the biggest technological disaster in Chornobyl. 🇷🇺’s attack on Ukraine may cause another ecological disaster moving its military forces to Chornobyl. If 🇷🇺continues the war, Chornobyl can happen again in 2022. #StopRussianAggression #RussiaInvadedUkraine pic.twitter.com/WOdmOfPmhx
— MFA of Ukraine 🇺🇦 (@MFA_Ukraine) February 24, 2022
Prior to the developments at Chernobyl, Russian troops had successfully taken control of Hostomel airport, around 15 miles west of Kiev, after a heavy assault involving attack helicopters.
Meanwhile, the Kremlin’s website, Kremlin.ru, has become inaccessible. This may be due to a cyber-attack in retaliation against Ukraine’s government suffering numerous denial of service (DDoS) attacks in past weeks. However, no evidence has yet tied the attacks against Ukrainian web services to Russian agents.
Kremlin Press Secretary Dmitry Peskov denied any problems with the Kremlin website, telling Ukrainian technology news service Interfax that “everything is working.”
Peskov later delivered a statement, according to RT News, in which he related that Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated a willingness to discuss peace negotiations with Ukraine, should Zelensky wish to enter into talks.
“The president formulated his vision of what we would expect from Ukraine in order for the so-called ‘red-line’ problems to be resolved. This is neutral status, and this is a refusal to deploy weapons,” Peskov explained, adding that “[t]he operation has its goals – they must be achieved. The president said that all decisions have been made, and the goals will be achieved.”