Russia takes control of town where Chernobyl nuclear plant staff live
KYIV — Russian forces have taken control of a town where staff working at the Chernobyl nuclear site live and briefly detained the mayor, sparking protests, Ukrainian officials say.
“I have been released. Everything is fine, as far as it is possible under occupation,” Yuri Fomichev, mayor of Slavutych, says by phone, after officials in the Ukraine capital Kyiv announced earlier he had been detained.
Earlier, the military administration of the Kyiv region, which covers Slavutych, announced that Russian troops had entered the town and occupied the municipal hospital.
They also said that the mayor had been detained.
Residents took to the streets, carrying a large blue and yellow Ukrainian flag and heading towards the hospital, the administration said. Russian forces fired into the air and threw stun grenades into the crowd, it added.
It also shared on its Telegram account images in which dozens of people gathered around the Ukrainian flag and chanted: “Glory to Ukraine.”
Fomichev posted a video on Facebook saying that at least three people had died, without elaborating on what had happened.
“We haven’t yet identified all of them,” he added, but said that civilians were among the dead.
While they had defended their town, they were up against a larger force, he said.
The Chernobyl plant was taken by the Russian army on February 24 on the same day that Moscow launched its invasion of Ukraine.
Some 25,000 people live in the town 160 kilometers (99 miles) north of the capital, built after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear power plant accident.