Ukrainian President reassured of end to forest fire

14 April 2020

The State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU)  needs a "few more days" to extinguish the smouldering remnants of a fire "in and around" the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the head of organisation, Mykola Chechotkin, told President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during a daily conference call today. According to a statement from the President's Office, Zelenskyy has been receiving daily updates on the situation.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during today's conference call (Image: Ukrainian President's Office)

Asked when the fire in the Exclusion Zone would be extinguished, Chechotkin said there was no longer any fire.

Zelenskyy was also informed that after 4.00pm yesterday, the situation had worsened due to windy weather, which has made controlling the fire difficult. SESU sent more equipment and personnel to the area, but rain later helped the firefighters deal with the situation faster, according to the statement.

"In total, yesterday, aviation firefighters made 227 flights and used 500 tonnes of water," Chechotkin said. "The background radiation in the Exclusion Zone remains within normal limits and has not increased," he added.

Suspected arsonists have been detained "near two points of outbreaks of fire". One of them is suspected of setting fire to about seven hectares of drywood, according to the statement.

Zelenskyy said he was pleased the country's upper house of parliament, the Verkhovna Rada, had yesterday voted in favour of increasing fines for arson in forests and green spaces. "This is a quick and correct response from the authorities to serious challenges. Previous fines in the amount of several thousand hryvnias were too little punishment for such serious crimes," he said.

Researched and written by World Nuclear News