A NEW chill haunts the radioactive wasteland at the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident in northern Ukraine.
The very name of the town – Chernobyl – became the slogan of the Apocalypse when its atomic plant exploded in 1986, creating an invisible pile of radiation that claimed the lives of 16,000 people.
But 36 years later, locals who spent the night near the sunken reactor were faced with a terrifying tangible threat from a massive Russian army last night.
About 80,000 troops of Vladimir Putin and their allies are currently camped a short distance across Ukraine’s northern border with Belarus, with thousands more pouring in every day.
A deserted area of 1,000 square miles Chernobyl excludes zonee presents their shortest and fastest route to the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
The Kremlin lords insist that troops, tanks and missile batteries arriving by train are participating in military exercises and pose no threat to Ukraine.
But the declared uninhabitable area around the reactor core since its crisis became strategically important as Ukraine had to bolster its defensive forces.
And the threat from the north has now become so real that The commanders tasked with protecting Kiev have sent an additional 7,500 border guards to patrol the contaminated wilderness.
We arrived Chernobyl reactor site today and was informed that movements are being restricted by a two-day military exercise involving the Ukrainian National Guard.
A 36-year-old local who frequents the area said: “More troops have arrived and we see them patrolling and moving closer to the border.
“This area is located between the border with Belarus, where the Russians are camped and our forces are clearly preparing to meet them if they come this way.
“One obvious advantage is that there were no civilians joining the resistance or getting in the way – only 150 locals chose to return after the disaster and all are now 75-100 years old.
“The radiation levels are currently tolerable as long as the exposure doesn’t last too long, but if the Russians were to pass through here, they could be in Kiev in two hours.
“But if they come, we will fight them. People will resist no matter which way they go.”
The city of Pripyat was built to provide manpower for the four giant reactors of the Chernobyl plant and was once a thriving community of 50,000 people.
But entire populations were racing for their lives within hours when Reactor Number 4 exploded and began spewing radiation across Europe on April 26, 1986.
No one has returned and the abandoned city is now defined by its derelict and the iconic landmark of its rusty ferris wheel and dodges in its overgrown fun zone.
The wild horses are now free and the wolves have returned to roam the desolate land untouched by humans for nearly four decades.
The dust-covered dolls cast their lifeless gazes over an abandoned kindergarten that we see today in one of more than 100 empty settlements where invaders might seek shelter. hide.
A wild horse and pack of dogs harassed us as we approached the 354-foot high concrete and steel dome surrounding the still-lethal radioactive core at the center of the site.
Our guide told us: “You have to be wary of these animals – they never leave here and their fur can carry high amounts of radiation.
“The dogs here don’t bite but they’re still dangerous.”
The Geiger counter radiation meter assigned to us beeped violently several times – within a safe range – as radiation levels spiked during our three-hour tour.
Sources inside the region revealed today that troop numbers have spiraled in the past two months as tensions rise north of the border.
Fears arose again when it was reported that Russian radar jammers were moving to help shield the invading force led by the elite Spetsnaz special forces.
Ukrainian troops currently guarding the area are ordered to constantly check their radiation exposure and limit their time anywhere near Chernobyl.
However, Russian tanks, armored personnel carriers and artillery batteries could quickly sweep through, leaving them with a clear path south to Kiev in as little as two hours.
And Spetsnaz’s covert units are said to have moved south of the border in preparation to open the way for the attack.
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Western military commanders fear that Russian forces could take advantage of defensive forces scattered throughout the barren region, which cannot be concentrated in large numbers.
Ukrainian artillery strikes to thwart an invasion would also be thwarted by the risk of disturbing radioactive soil.
Flat farmland and a direct highway south to Kiev are now thought to be the preferred choice for Putin’s war planners.
Lieutenant Colonel Yuri Shakraichuk of the State Border Guard Service of Ukraine – who is patrolling the border – said: “Chernobyl is an area that is increasing in danger.
“We increased the strength of the guards, we increased the number of patrols, and we increased the number of people on these patrols.”
You have to be wary of these animals – they never leave here and their fur can carry high amounts of radiation.
Colonel Shakraichuk said his troops were equipped with monitoring radiation detectors – and were ordered to flee the area if alerted by the devices.
“All the roads that border patrols walk on are monitored and patrols do not go to places with high ionizing radiation,” he said. We use drones to monitor contaminated areas.”
“If the equipment stops working patrol will leave the contaminated territory as soon as possible.”
Seven thousand elite Russian Spetsnaz special forces soldiers are now armed and ready to attack Ukraine from Belarus, it was revealed today.
Military intelligence sources reveal that the 2,000-strong 14th Spetsnaz Brigade is currently on its way to Putin’s puppet state.
The additional force of 5,000 comrades was present at a position nearly 12 km from the northern border of Ukraine.
The commanders now fear the rogue nation could become a springboard for a quick assault on Kiev, just 150 miles south.
Hundreds of Spetsnaz troops are believed to be in Ukraine preparing the ground for an expected attack “at any time” as UN peace talks remain deadlocked.
The invasion force’s spearhead units estimate that around 80,000 pro-Putin troops are currently in Belarus while another 130,000 have moved into position from the south and east.
https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/17523554/inside-chernobyl-as-russian-troops-prepare-for-ukraine-invasion/ Inside the eerie wasteland of Chernobyl as 80,000 Russian troops ready to march through the radioactive zone and capture Kiev