The Belarusian border with Ukraine is 674 miles long. But one of the most strategically important areas of it lies directly north of Kyiv, in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone, the largely abandoned, heavily irradiated area around the Soviet nuclear power plant that melted down in 1986. Russian forces occupied the area from Feb. 24 until April 2, when they withdrew after a fierce Ukrainian counteroffensive.
The Chernobyl Exclusion Zone is now where Ukrainians fear the Russians may try to come back, possibly in league with a new combatant in the 10-month-long war: the army commanded by Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko.
Yahoo News spent time with Andrii (not his real name), the commander of a Ukrainian reconnaissance team operating in the zone. The soldiers in Andrii’s unit have been playing a cat-and-mouse game with Russian and Belarusian special forces infiltrators in the desolate environment surrounding the infamous nuclear power plant. [Continue reading…]