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24th Anniversary of Chernobyl to Be Commemorated in Seoul
Seoul Times EU Office
Ukraine Amb. Volodymyr Belashov at his office in Seoul
Photo by Koo Ji-Bong, Staff Reporter

KIEV, UKRAINE - Ukraine's President Viktor Yanukovych warned Monday, April 26, 2010, on the anniversary of the world's worst atomic accident that the Chernobyl nuclear reactor remains a serious threat to Europe.

On April 26, 1986, Reactor no. 4 at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant near the town of Pripyat, Ukraine, exploded. The explosion took place at around 1AM while the neighboring town of Pripyat slept. Four workers were killed instantly. Forty hours later, the residents of Pripyat were ordered to evacuate, and most never returned. By that time, many of the residents had suffered varying degrees of radiation poisoning.

The 1986 reactor explosion sent a cloud of radiation over much of Europe and severe health problems persist a quarter-century later. Ukrainian President Viktor Yanukovych says some 2 million people still suffer illnesses caused by the radiation.

Hundreds of Ukrainian mourners holding candles and red carnations gathered on Monday to mark the 24th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster.

Ukraine President Yanukovych laid wreaths at the monument to Chernobyl victims and visited the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) on the same day.

Yanukovych pledged to take better care of the Chernobyl victims and those who still suffer from related diseases, calling that an issue of "conscience and honor". The president said that some 2 million people suffer illnesses caused by the radiation.

Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov promised better medical treatment, higher pensions, and accommodation.

Just two days before the 24th anniversary of the worst nuclear accident at Chernobyl in Ukraine, tens of thousands of Germans joined hands to form a human chain to protest against nuclear energy Saturday,
Estimates say that more than 100,000 people took part in the human chain which stretched for 120 kilometers (75 miles) along the Elbe River through the port city of Hamburg, Germany. Organizers put the turnout at more than 120,000.

On April 30, 2010 the Ambassador of Ukraine Mr. Volodymyr Belashov will host a prayer in the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Seoul for victims of Chernobyl. Russian Ambassador Konstantin V. Vnukov and Belarus Ambassador Aleksandr E. Guryanov will attend the ceremony, as well as, members of Diplomatic community and Ukrainians living in Korea.

Ukraine President address on the occasion of Chornobyl Disaster Day:

Dear compatriots!

On April 26, 1986 Ukraine experienced the worst technological catastrophe in the world at the Chernobyl NPP.

Since then, that has been the day of mourning for victims of the Chernobyl disaster and the day of warning for responsible use of peaceful atom. We all remember and mourn heroes of different nationalities, who sacrificed their lives for the future of civilization.

May their bright memory live forever. They will always remain in our hearts.

Perhaps the fact that Ukraine was the first to feel and realized the dangers of peaceful atom, was one of the motivations for our country to be the first in the world to voluntarily give up its nuclear weapons. We have recently also shown the example to the whole world by making the decision to give up leftovers our highly enriched uranium stocks.

Whether we like it or not, Ukraine's energy future is impossible without nuclear power. But we want it to be peaceful and safe, given the lessons of Chernobyl, for which we paid a very high price. There are still more than two million people suffering from harmful effects of radiation exposure, of which 498 thousand are children.

One says that time eases the pain and recently we have been treating the Chernobyl disaster victims very habitually. Their support due to inflation and other processes is becoming more and more symbolic. But we'll change that. Our economy will be gradually recovering and we will find the financial resources to optimize social protection to Chernobyl disaster victims.

As the President of Ukraine, I appeal to all fellow countrymen to unite efforts to overcome the leftover consequences of the disaster. Let the coordinated work, the best human qualities and the character of Ukrainians weathered with the years of overcoming the consequences of Chernobyl disaster, continue to be grounds for quality changes and prosperity of our Homeland.






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