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Russia-Ukraine Fighting Reaches Chernobyl

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says Russia is attempting to take control of the nuclear wilderness-and all the dangers that lie within it.
IMAGE FRANCISCO GONCALVES / GETTY IMAGES
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Fighting has broken out in Chernobyl.

That was a neck-wrencher of a sentence when it came blaring out of the TV. It is a collision of catastrophes that has a historical and emotional resonance that likely is audible on the Moon. Russia is making war in a radioactive wilderness that blind obedience and brainless bureaucracy created, and that largely has been reclaimed by vegetation and the beasts of the wild. The estimate is that the area won’t be habitable for 20,000 years, which is good, because the worst things always happen in Chernobyl when humans get involved there.

The Russians are making war in a place that will be unsafe for human beings for 20,000 years.

Reports are sketchy as to the status of the nuclear facilities. A confinement dome was built because the ruins of the plant itself are still a hot zone full of fissile material, and last spring, the ruins seemed to be heating up again. Which is not even to mention that making war has been known to kick up a lot of dust, and the dust in Chernobyl is not like the dust anywhere else. From National Geographic:

>Those who remain rely on food from their gardens and the surrounding forest, including large and abundant mushrooms that are especially good at absorbing cesium-137, which emits both beta and gamma radiation. Some residents roast these mushrooms inside their homes with wood burning ovens. The trees they burn for fuel can also be radioactive, so the smoke causes new mini-fallouts nearby. Radiation is a constant companion here. In the inhabited places, the background levels are generally low. In others they are dangerously high. But without a dosimeter or Geiger counter, which many people don’t have—and sometimes don’t care to have—measurement is impossible.

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I don’t know exactly why this rivulet among the torrent of bad news swept me away the way that it did, but both the Chernobyl disaster and Russia’s appalling act of international brigandage are calamities based in maddened hubris and deep-running paranoia. Whether Russia is Tsarist, Communist, or kleptocratic, that paranoia never seems to change. As he was about to launch his invasion, Vladimir Putin gave a raving mad television address that sounded like something out of Eisenstein’s Ivan The Terrible.

As I said in my previous address, one cannot look at what is happening there without compassion. It is simply not possible to stand all this anymore. It is necessary to immediately stop this nightmare—the genocide against the millions of people living there, who rely only on Russia, only on us. These aspirations, feelings, pain of people are the main motivation for us to take the decision to recognize the people’s republics of Donbas.

There is a genuine concern that Putin has lost the plot.
Photo by ALEXEI NIKOLSKY/GETTY IMAGES.
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What I think is important to emphasize further is that the leading NATO countries, in order to achieve their own goals, support extreme nationalists and Neo-Nazis in Ukraine, who, in turn, will never forgive the Crimeans and Sevastopol residents for choosing reunification with Russia.

Not entirely sure the Crimeans had much choice there, Vlad.

Its goal is to protect people who have been subjected to abuse and genocide by the regime in Kyiv for eight years. And for this we will pursue the demilitarization and denazification of Ukraine, as well as bringing to justice those who committed numerous bloody crimes against civilians, including citizens of the Russian Federation.

So many people, so many walls against which to stand them up.

“Now a few important, very important words for those who may be tempted to intervene in the ongoing events. Whoever tries to hinder us, or threaten our country or our people, should know that Russia’s response will be immediate and will lead you to consequences that you have never faced in your history. We are ready for any turn of events. All necessary decisions in this regard have been made. I hope that I will be heard.”

Only a madman would make this threat, even if it is empty, of which there is no guarantee. I’m afraid that Putin has gone more crazy than should be allowed in anyone with as many nuclear weapons as he has. It may be that only a coup inside Russia can truly stop the march of his madness. But he has a predator’s gift for finding the sensitive spots in the Russian psyche. What I know is that the United States and its allies are forced into the position of having to call this last, deadly bluff.

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They’re fighting in Chernobyl.

Every April, the few citizens who still live in the region gather around a statue of the Third Angel from Revelations, of whom it is written:

And the third angel sounded, and there fell a great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp, and it fell upon the third part of the rivers, and upon the fountains of waters. And the name of the star is called Wormwood: and the third part of the waters became wormwood; and many men died of the waters, because they were made bitter.

FromEsquire US

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About The Author
Charles P. Pierce
Charles P. Pierce, lead for Esquire Politics US, has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.
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