WILDFIRES caused by Russian shelling have broken out across Chernobyl’s Exclusion Zone, reports say.
Some 31 fires in the exclusion zone have been recorded and are thought to have increased levels of radioactive air pollution.
And they are thought to cover 25,000 acres of forest near the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant.
Ukrainian MP Inna Sovsun said: “It isn’t possible to put out the fire now, as this territory isn’t controlled by Ukraine.
“We’re afraid that the fire will reach the nuclear power plant. The radiation level is already elevated.”
Russia’s troops have set up a field camp and withdrawn as radioactive dust has made it impossible to conduct military operations, Ukraine’s General Chief of Staff said.
Some military units are also withdrawing to Belarus to regroup.
The flames could also engulf the nuclear fuel storage facilities and nuclear waste storage facilities, it has been warned.
Dry and windy weather will increase the intensity and area of the fires, which can lead to large-scale blazes.
It comes after Russian forces fired rockets at a nuclear research facility in besieged Kharkiv.
Emine Dzheppar, Ukraine’s deputy minister of foreign affairs, warned it could lead to a major environmental disaster.
And workers at Chernobyl have been too tired to make safety repairs, raising the likelihood of a nuclear disaster, Ukraine warned earlier this month.
Employees had been forced to work relentlessly while at gun point and were not relieved for weeks.
The International Atomic Energy Agency said: “The Ukrainian regulator informed the IAEA that staff at Chernobyl were no longer carrying out repair and maintenance of safety-related equipment.
“It is in part due to their physical and psychological fatigue after working non-stop for nearly three weeks.”
The facility also lost power this month as Ukrainian authorities lost all communication with the workers.
Power lines to the site of the 1986 nuclear disaster were damaged during fighting between Ukraine and Russia, leaving the plant relying on backup generators to prevent disaster.
Putin’s troops seized control of Chernobyl last month when they first invaded Ukraine.
Radiation levels surged beyond control levels as a result of the heavy military equipment rolling through.