Russian troops, having entered the city of Slavutych, where the workers of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant live, left
The mayor of the city of Slavutych, where the workers of the Chernobyl plant live, announces the World that Russian troops, who had surrounded the city for a month and had invaded on Saturday, left, denying reports that the city was occupied. “It hasn’t been there for two days”says Yuri Fomichev.
“A few days ago we were given an ultimatum: either we surrender or the enemy will attack us. We have decided that our city will not surrender without a fight.”, he says. The Ukrainian army is not present in the city. “We have been in the occupied zone for a long time. We cannot take food, medicine and weapons with us. Our army could only help us by shelling the enemy troops approaching the city. † The fighting lasted for two days, he said.
“It was simple inhabitants of Slavutych who took up arms and defended the city. They are not professional soldiers, they went to defend the city because they had to. † Saturday there was a huge demonstration in Slavutych. “There were a lot of people, at least 5,000 people. I was on my way to come from a nearby village. I was there for security reasons, to prevent the occupiers from threatening the city by capturing me.”says the mayor.
On the way, Yuri Fomichev was ambushed. “I had to admit that I was mayor. I demanded a meeting with their commander to prevent the bombardment of the city, where there are no armed forces, soldiers or weapons. They took me to their commander. † He negotiated the departure of the Russians. “Their only condition, which we accepted, was to have them check the buildings to make sure there were no weapons. Our condition was that the city remains under the Ukrainian flag and lives according to Ukrainian law.”says the mayor, who told them he had no intention of working with them.
“We had to act quickly to avoid the bombardment of the city. When the protesters heard that I had been captured, they demanded that I be released and that the occupiers leave. They shouted “Go home!” † The mayor was later released and attended the protest. “The occupiers were very afraid that armed people could shoot at them among these demonstrators. I said to them, “I’ll go first, you follow me and if they shoot, they’ll shoot me.” †
No one fired except the Russians – in the air – to intimidate the crowd. Without success. In the presence of the protesters, Yuri Fomichev reaffirmed that Slavutych, built after the Chernobyl accident in 1986, was “Ukrainian and that it was out of the question to change the flag, laws and cooperation with the Russians”†
He’s trying now “do everything so that people can survive and survive here”, despite the almost total isolation of the city. According to him, the Russians agreed to leave because “the city is not strategic for them. We are far from the front line and have no big companies”†
Another element seems decisive to him: the presence in Slavutych of the employees of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, who ensure its operation. “In Russia there are no such specialists, assures Yuri Fomichev. Maybe that’s why they don’t come to town very often. †
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Sunday reiterated its concern over the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, which had been taken over by the Russian army at the start of the conflict. “No staff turnover for almost a week” on the site, the Agency noted. She is concerned about the fatigue of workers managing the day-to-day operations of the radioactive waste site, raising concerns about the possibility of human error.