Russian forces take control of working-class town of Chernobyl, three dead, reports Interfax Ukraine

LVIV, Ukraine, March 26 (Reuters) – Russian forces have taken control of Slavutych, Ukraine, home to Chernobyl nuclear power plant workers, and three people have been killed, the Interfax Ukraine news agency reported. quoting the local mayor.

Kyiv Region Governor Oleksandr Pavlyuk previously announced the capture in an online post.

The city sits just outside a safety exclusion zone around Chernobyl – the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986 – where Ukrainian personnel continued to run the site even after the territory was was occupied by Russian forces shortly after the start on 24 February. invasion.

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Slavutych has been under occupation since today. We have stood firm for our city… three deaths have been confirmed so far,” Interfax quoted Mayor Yuri Fomichev as saying in a Facebook post. The report did not give details of the casualties.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a statement it was monitoring the situation closely and expressed concern about the ability of personnel to enter and exit the atomic power plant.

Pavlyuk did not describe how the town was taken, but said some residents unfurled a large Ukrainian flag and shouted “Glory to Ukraine” in protest.

He also said the Russians fired into the air to disperse the protest in the center of the city and threw stun grenades into the crowd.

There was no immediate comment from Russia about Slavutych.

Ukrainian presidential adviser Oleksiy Arestovych said the city had become a new hot spot in the war.

On Friday, Ukraine said Russian troops had closed in on the town, which had a population of around 25,000 before the war, and launched an unsuccessful first attack.

Moscow describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special military operation” to disarm its neighbor. kyiv and its Western allies call it an unprovoked war of aggression.

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Reporting by Natalia Zinets and David Ljunggren Writing by Alessandra Prentice Editing by Alexander Smith, Barbara Lewis and Aurora Ellis

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