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    Kiev Sends Troops to Chernobyl Exclusion Zone Amid Arson Incidents

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    Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk ordered on Friday the Interior Ministry and the National Guard to send additional forces to the Chernobyl exclusion zone to prevent further acts of arson.

    KIEV (Sputnik) — A 32-hectare wildfire began on August 8 in a forested area within the Chernobyl nuclear power plant exclusion zone, according to Ukraine’s Emergency Service. As of Sunday, some 60 hectares in the zone had been affected by the blaze.

    "I instruct the Interior Ministry and the National Guard to send additional forces to ensure security and public order, as well as greater control over the movement of people," Yatsenyuk said at a meeting of the State Commission on Technogenic and Environmental Safety and Emergency Situations.

    In this Monday, June 29, 2015 handout photo made available by the Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry press service on Tuesday, June 30, 2015, an aerial view of a forest fire is seen in the Chernobyl area, Ukraine
    © AP Photo / Ukrainian Emergency Situations Ministry Press Service handout photo via AP
    According to the head of the Ukrainian State Emergency Service, Mykola Chechetkin, a preliminary investigation has found that this year’s four wildfires in the area may have been caused by arson.

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

    Over the course of 2015, wildfires around the exclusion zone have erupted regularly, leading to an increase in background radiation in the surrounding areas.


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