Russia is withdrawing from the northern region of Ukraine where they have been occupying the exclusion zone around the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant since February 24, 2022 during the first days of the Russian invasion in Ukraine.
According to Ukraine's state power company Energoatom, all Russian troops have left Chernobyl. Workers at the plant claim to have witnessed Russian troops drive tanks and other heavy equipment through the Red Forest during the occupation of the invasion and expose themselves to radiation while disturbing soil in the area. Following over a month of occupation in the area, Russian troops are now moving toward Belarus.
Earlier this week, a larger consulate of Russian troops left the area toward Belarus leaving a small contingency behind in the plant. Workers now say that there are no more "outsiders" in the area. On Telegram, Energoatom provided feedback from their workers who run the plant confirming the Russian occupation of the plant had ended.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been engaged for technical assistance and investigation of the area. Following several power outages and after the initial overtaking of the plant, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant stopped reporting radiation levels in the area. According to the IAEA, the agency is "still not receiving remote data transmission from its monitoring systems installed at the Chornobyl NPP, but such data was being transferred to IAEA headquarters from other NPPs in Ukraine".
Ukraine has fifteen operational reactors spread over four sites in the country, of which nine are operational. Two sites are in Russian controlled Zaporizhzhya. The others are in Rivne, Khmelnytskyy and Souther Ukraine. The other six reactors have been shut down for "regular maintenance" according to the IAEA. Chernobyl has been decommissioned since 1986 after reactor 4 melted down in arguably the worst nuclear disaster in history. Today, the area around Chernobyl is a radiation exclusion zone and maintained by Ukraine in order to limit the risk of radiation exposure. Tours were conducted in limited groups before the Russian invasion and the site remains a testament to nuclear safety and the evolution of atomic programs around the world.