Ukraine claims Russian forces have left Chernobyl, handed over control

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Ukraine state energy company Energoatom said Friday that Russian forces have handed back control of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. 

Energoatom claimed the pullout happened after soldiers received “significant doses” of radiation from digging trenches in the forest in the exclusion zone around the closed plant.

Ukrainian soldiers walk next to destroyed Russian tanks in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022. Russian forces shelled Kyiv suburbs, two days after the Kremlin announced it would significantly scale back operations near both the capital and the northern city of Chernihiv to "increase mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations." (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

Ukrainian soldiers walk next to destroyed Russian tanks in the outskirts of Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 31, 2022. Russian forces shelled Kyiv suburbs, two days after the Kremlin announced it would significantly scale back operations near both the capital and the northern city of Chernihiv to “increase mutual trust and create conditions for further negotiations.” (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
(AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd))

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Yevhen Kramarenko, the leader of the agency in charge of the area, confirmed the departure of Russian troops from the Chernobyl plant, but added that “Russians were seen in the exclusion zone this morning,” according to Reuters. 

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine November 22, 2018. 

FILE PHOTO: A general view shows the New Safe Confinement (NSC) structure over the old sarcophagus covering the damaged fourth reactor at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine November 22, 2018. 
(REUTERS/Gleb Garanich/File Photo)

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Energoatom said Thursday that the Russian soldiers were headed toward Ukraine’s border with Belarus and that its forces were also preparing to leave Slavutych, a nearby city where power plant workers live.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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