Chornobyl radiation makes Russian soldiers sick?

Red Forest warning sign

Russian troops are suffering from “acute radiation sickness”, according to the Daily Beast, after digging trenches in the Chornobyl area. As they were disturbing the highly-contaminated soil in the Red Forest of the Exclusion Zone — an area where not even highly-specialized Chornobyl personnel venture — the soldiers began falling ill and were transported to the Belarusian Radiation Medicine Center in Gomel for treatment. The area is named for the pine trees that turned red as the 1986 nuclear meltdown and explosion showered them with radioactivity.

Some reports say there were as many as seven busloads of sickened soldiers, and some journalists report seeing “ghost buses” traveling under cover of darkness from Belarus to Russia with dead soldiers. Reports are contradictory as to whether the withdrawal from Chornobyl was part of the original invasion scale back or whether Chornobyl is being abandoned because the occupying force is falling ill.

According to Energoatom, the entity in charge of managing the highly radioactive Chornobyl site, Russian occupation forces have begun withdrawal, leaving a few troops behind. Energoatom states that “Further actions on the territory of the Chornobyl NPP will be carried out after the inspection by Ukrainian specialists for the presence of explosive devices.”

Red Forest radiation warning sign. Credit: Timm Suess, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

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