Some Russian forces have withdrawn from the Chernobyl nuclear power site, according to a senior US defense official.
Chernobyl, infamous location of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, is about 60 miles (97 kilometers) northwest of Kyiv. The site fell into Russian hands in the first days of the invasion in late February, triggering fears that safety standards inside the Chernobyl exclusion zone could be compromised.
The withdrawal comes as a portion of Russian troops near the Ukrainian capital have repositioned.
Troop movement: On Wednesday, Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the US has seen approximately 20% of Russia’s forces moving against Kyiv “repositioning,” with some heading to Belarus. Kirby said the troops that have been repositioning have generally been fighting in areas to the north and northwest of Kyiv.
Some context: One week ago, Ukraine’s government said Russian forces had looted and destroyed a lab close to the abandoned nuclear plant, which was used to monitor radioactive waste.
Russian claims: The movement of Russian forces near Chernobyl and elsewhere around Kyiv came one day after Russia’s Ministry of Defense said its forces would “de-escalate” around Kyiv. Despite the Russian claim, Kyiv and the surroundings cities have seen an ongoing Russian bombardment in the past 24 hours.
“Our assessment would be as we said yesterday that they’re going to refit these troops, resupply them, and them probably employ them elsewhere in Ukraine,” Kirby said.