Ukraine marks 30th anniversary of Chernobyl disaster
April 26, Kiev: Ukraine has marked the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear accident that sent radiation spewing across Europe, led to a death toll that is still being debated — estimates range from 4,000 up to 1 million — and displaced and sickened hundreds of thousands of people.
Sirens were sounded at the same moment as the first explosion at the reactor, in the early hours of 26 April 1986.
The meltdown at the Soviet plant is considered the worst nuclear disaster in history.
An uncontrolled reaction blew the roof off, spewing out a cloud of radioactive material which drifted into other parts of the USSR, including Russia and Belarus, and northern Europe, according to reports.
Relatives of those who died attended candle-lit vigils at several churches, including at Slavutych, a town built to re-house workers who lived near the nuclear plant. A series of events are being held throughout the day.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko laid a wreath and observed a minute's silence in the Ukrainian capital Kiev before heading north for a ceremony at the plant itself, not far from the Belarussian border.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, in a message to the 600,000 people who helped in the clear-up - known as liquidators - called the nuclear disaster "a grave lesson for all of mankind".
The Oslo Times