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26 Apr 2016

Chernobyl victims commemorated at Belarus embassy in Russia

MINSK, 26 April (BelTA) – The Embassy of Belarus in Russia hosted an evening to mark the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, BelTA learnt from Second Secretary of the embassy Lyubov Mayorova.

The event was held under the motto, Chernobyl: From Recovery to Development Through Partnership. Attending the event were heads of the diplomatic missions of the countries that implemented humanitarian programs in Chernobyl-affected regions, representatives and experts of the Emergencies Ministry, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Healthcare Ministry of Russia, the Russian Academy of Sciences, Rosatom, the Union State Permanent Committee, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Belarus-Russia Union State, and others. The event was also attended by representatives of the Russian and Union State mass media, the bloggers’ community of Moscow and Russia who took part in a press tour to the 30km exclusion zone and a number of Chernobyl-hit regions of Gomel Oblast.

Opening the meeting Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia Igor Petrishenko noted that the main burden of the accident fell on Belarus. 20% of the country’s territory was contaminated. 70% of the radioactive fall-out landed on Belarusian territories. “Some 479 settlements vanished from the map of our country. One fifth of its agricultural lands and a quarter of its forests became poisonous. The efforts to cope with the consequences of the Chernobyl catastrophe cost Belarus an estimated $235 billion. The scale of the tragedy was colossal. Belarus had to struggle the economic consequences of the accident on its own,” the head of the Belarusian diplomatic mission said.

The Belarusian Ambassador expressed gratitude for the implementation of long-term humanitarian projects to Austria, Japan, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Norway, the United States, Finland, France, Switzerland, Sweden. Igor Petrishenko also emphasized the assistance in mitigating the Chernobyl impact from the UN organizations and institutions.

The guests observed a minute of silence to honor the heroes and victims of the Chernobyl disaster. Director of the Department of International Organizations at the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Alexander Pankin stated: “This tragedy was a severe test that required the unity of intellectual forces, material resources, courage and heroism. The world had not dealt with the pollution of such scale before.”

According to Deputy Head of the Japanese mission in Russia, Minister Counselor Tokuro Furuya, 2016 is a special year both for Belarus and Japan. The year marks the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster and the 5th anniversary of the accident at Fukushima 1. He stressed the significance of the international conference Chernobyl: Thirty Years Later. From an Emergency to a Revival and Sustainable Socio and Economic Development of Affected Territories in Minsk. the diplomat also thanked the Belarusian government for annual invitation of children from Fukushima to Belarus for recuperation.

The event included a presentation of interactive thematic photo exhibitions and a documentary entitled Chernobyl: Exam for the Nation by the Belarusfilm Studio.

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Great Patriotic War monuments in Belarus