Ukraine’s President Viktor Yushchenko has led the mourning for the dead of Chernobyl. The world’s worst civil nuclear disaster happened 20 years ago today. Ukraine is holding a series of events to commemorate the anniversary, including the unveiling of a monument to the dead.
Initially 29 people lost their lives in the disaster or died in the weeks that followed. But last week Greenpeace predicted that the death toll will eventually reach more than 200,000. The poignant pealing of the bells marks the exact moment the alarm was raised at the doomed plant on April 26 1986. The explosion tore off the nuclear plant’s roof spewing out radioactive fallout over vast tracts of the former USSR and Europe. Ceremonies are being held all over the region, the common factor seen from Kiev to Moscow is one of reflective grief.