Chernobyl staff 'exhausted mentally and physically', Ukraine energy minister says

A view of the shelter construction covers the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 5, 2022.
A view of the shelter construction covers the exploded reactor at the Chernobyl nuclear plant, in Chernobyl, Ukraine, Tuesday, April 5, 2022. Copyright AP Photo/Oleksandr Ratushniak
By Euronews
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It's "a big pressure to operate the station under occupation," Ukraine's energy minister told Euronews.

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Ukrainian energy minister German Galushchenko told Euronews that staff at Chernobyl were "exhausted mentally and physically" after working under Russian occupation for more than a month.

"It's a big pressure to operate the station under occupation," Galushchenko said. It is "really very difficult because every day (the staff had) to speak with Russian soldiers."

The Ukrainian official added that Russian soldiers had dug the land in the forest, thus influencing radiation levels.

"They were all affected by the radiation, and that is really incredible also to think how it could happen," Galushchenko said.

Last week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Thursday that they still could not confirm reports of Russian forces receiving high doses of radiation while being in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone.

The UN nuclear watchdog had previously indicated they were seeking further information on the situation.

Galushchenko said he was concerned about the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, stating that the presence of heavy weapons near the energy plants are very dangerous.

"The presence of the soldiers and I must say, even the presence of weapons of heavy weapons on the station and near the nuclear units, it's of course, dangerous."

Watch the full interview in the video player above.

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