05:13 GMT15 April 2021
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    A recent fire in the Chernobyl exclusion zone could be a case of arson, Ukraine's emergency service official told journalists Monday.

    An aerial view from a helicopter shows smoke from forest fires some 40 km from Chernobyl nuclear power plant in Kiev region, northern Ukraine, June 29, 2015. Picture taken with a mobile phone on June 29, 2015
    © REUTERS / State Emergency Service of Ukraine/Handout via Reuters
    KIEV (Sputnik) A 32-hectare wildfire began Saturday on territory in a forestry complex in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exclusion zone, according to Ukraine’s Emergency Service. As of Sunday, some 60 hectares in the zone had been burned.

    According to Deputy Director of the State Emergency Service of Ukraine’s Department of Emergency Response Pyotr Korotinsky, an investigation is currently being conducted by Ukraine law enforcement.

    “This fire is most likely an arson, because it has started in the middle of the forest and it has a specific form of dissemination,” Korotinsky said.

    Korotnitsky added that the conclusion is preliminary and is yet to be confirmed by an investigation.

    The Chernobyl nuclear power plant was destroyed in an explosion on April 26, 1986. An area of over 80,000 square miles was contaminated by radioactive fallout.

    Over the course of 2015, wildfires around the exclusion zone have erupted regularly, increasing background radiation in neighboring territories.


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