On Chernobyl anniversary, Ukraine’s president says reactor still a threat

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president warned Monday on the anniversary of the world’s worst atomic accident that the Chernobyl nuclear reactor remains a serious threat to Europe.

A young Belarusian protester takes part in a rally to commemorate Chernobyl nuclear disaster  in Minsk

A young Belarusian protester takes part in a rally to commemorate Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Minsk

KYIV, Ukraine — Ukraine’s president warned Monday on the anniversary of the world’s worst atomic accident that the Chernobyl nuclear reactor remains a serious threat to Europe.

The 1986 reactor explosion sent a cloud of radiation over much of Europe and severe health problems persist a quarter-century later. President Viktor Yanukovych says some two million people suffer illnesses caused by the radiation.

The exploded reactor is encased in a deteriorating shell and internationally funded work to replace the shell is far behind schedule.

Yanukovych said during commemoration ceremonies Monday that the reactor is a threat “not only for Ukraine, but for Europe, Russia and Belarus.”

The radiation left swaths of Ukraine and Belarus uninhabitable.

Yanukovych laid flowers at a monument to explosion victims in Chernobyl, visited a plant on reprocessing a spent nuclear fuel.

Yanukovych pledged to give better care for Chernobyl victims and those who still suffer from the related diseases, calling that an issue of “conscience and honour.”

Prime Minister Mykola Azarov promised better medical treatment, higher pensions, accommodation.

In Kyiv, an Orthodox priest prayed near a monument to Chernobyl victims in front of hundreds who gathered to pay tribute to those who died. Some of them complained about inadequate compensation and treatment for those who fell ill after taking part in the cleanup.

“We lost our town, we lost everything. Every time, the authorities promise to rise our pensions, but they always lie,” said Serhiy Krasylnikov, a former plant worker who currently heads a Kyiv district union of Chernobyl victims.

A commemoration march took place later Monday evening in the capital of Belarus. In previous years, opposition groups had used unsanctioned commemoration gatherings as a venue for protesting against the authoritarian government. This year, officials have sanctioned the march.

In Minsk’s heavily policed central square, about 2,000 demonstrators held aloft opposition flags bearing slogans such as “Dictatorship is like another Chernobyl,” and “You cannot stop radiation with decrees.”

“Lukashenko is like a second Chernobyl for Belarus. He doesn’t solve the problem, but aggravates it,” said Dmitry Rusevich, an 18-year-old student.

Their march was due to end with a candlelit vigil by a church dedicated to the victims of the disaster.

Independent analysts in Belarus say much is being done to hide the truth about the wider consequences of the disaster to this day. They say contaminated agricultural produce still finds its way onto store shelves.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

(Advocate file photo).
RDC wins two national awards for environmental initiatives

Clean50 and LEED awards were received for innovative, green projects

St. Joseph High School, Notre Dame High School, Lindsay Thurber Comprehensive High School, and St. Thomas Aquinas School are all dealing with COVID-19 outbreaks of 10 or more cases. (File photo by Advocate staff)
COVID-19 impacting Red Deer schools

Education minister says 99.6 per cent of students and staff remain in school in Alberta

DynaLife is hiring more staff to bring waiting times for blood tests down in Red Deer. (AP Photo/Jacqueline Larma, File)
DynaLIFE is hiring more staff in Red Deer to reduce wait times

Wait times for appointment will be further reduced

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

WHL Logo
WHL announces no playoffs for 2020-21 season

The Western Hockey League will not have playoffs following the shortened 24-game… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

A Quebec Superior Court justice is set to issue a ruling Tuesday on the constitutionality of the province’s secularism law, known as Bill 21. People hold up signs during a demonstration against Bill 21 in Montreal, Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Quebec court upholds most of province’s secularism law, exempts English school boards

MONTREAL — Quebec’s secularism law is largely legal, a Superior Court judge… Continue reading

Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth speaks during a press conference at the legislature in Victoria, Monday, Oct. 28, 2019. The British Columbia government is providing a few more details about travel restrictions aimed at limiting movement around the province to slow the spread of COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Periodic roadblocks but no individual stops planned for B.C.’s COVID-19 travel rules

VICTORIA — The British Columbia government is looking at using periodic roadblocks… Continue reading

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is joined virtually by Minister of Finance Chrystia Freeland as they talk online to a group of front-line pharmacists from across the country to discuss the ongoing vaccination efforts in the fight against COVID‑19, from the Prime Ministers office on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Provinces balk at Liberals’ child-care budget pledge as funding negotiations loom

OTTAWA — Multiple provincial governments are questioning the Liberals’ promise of a… Continue reading

Pharmacist Barbara Violo arranges empty vials of the Oxford-AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine that she has provided to customers at the Junction Chemist, an independent pharmacy in Toronto, Monday, April 19, 2021. Younger Canadians in several provinces are now able to get the AstraZeneca vaccine. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Trudeau, Freeland seeking AstraZeneca shots as they become age-eligible with others

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland… Continue reading

The Rogers Logo is photographed on a Toronto office on Monday, September 30, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/ Tijana Martin
Rogers says wireless service fully restored but questions remain after massive outage

A massive countrywide wireless outage that left millions of Rogers Communications Inc.… Continue reading

sign
Alberta Biobord Corp. recently hosted a virtual open house from Stettler

The company plans to develop a fuel pellet and medium density fibre board (MDF) plant near the community

The controversial Super League is materializing after Madrid and 11 other clubs announced its creation on Sunday. (File photo by BLACK PRESS)
Super League a ‘longtime dream’ for Madrid president Pérez

League created because coronavirus pandemic left clubs in a dire financial situation

San Jose Sharks centre Patrick Marleau (12) skates during the third period of an NHL hockey game against the Minnesota Wild, in San Jose, Calif., Monday, March 29, 2021. Marleau is skating in his 1,757th game. Only one other player in NHL history has hit that mark. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Tony Avelar
Patrick Marleau set to break Gordie Howe’s record for most NHL games played

Marleau was set to suit up for the 1,768th time Monday

Most Read