Russian forces have reportedly captured the Chernobyl power plant, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office said Thursday.
The announcement coincides with a full Russian invasion of Ukraine that began early Thursday after Russian President Vladimir Putin announced “a special military operation in Donbas.”
Shortly after Putin’s announcement, the Russian military descended upon Ukraine via land, sea and air, The New York Times reported. U.S. officials have predicted that Putin’s goal is to fully dismantle the Ukrainian government and replace Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy with someone controlled by Russia, the newspaper added.
Amid a continued Russian attack against Ukraine, the Ukrainian president has tweeted out updates. In one, he reported that “Russian occupation forces are trying to seize the” Chernobyl power plant, a highly radioactive zone with a nuclear reactor that melted in 1986 and sparked the worst nuclear reaction disaster in history.
“Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelenskyy tweeted. “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
Roughly two hours later, adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office Mykhailo Podolyak said the power plant had been captured by Russian forces, according to Reuters.
“It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” Podolyak warned. “This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today.”