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Opinions & Interviews

26 Apr 2016

Lukashenko: Belarusian people showed true heroism when dealing with Chernobyl legacy

Lukashenko: Belarusian people showed true heroism when dealing with Chernobyl legacy

YELSK, 26 April (BelTA) - Belarusian people showed true heroism when dealing with the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko said when speaking at the final concert of the Revival marathon dedicated to the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, BelTA has learned.

“Back then we had to work on many tasks simultaneously: eliminate the consequences of the disaster, restore the governability in the country, save factories, agricultural enterprises, and enhance the social protection of people. Numerous experts asserted that the new country would collapse under such a heavy burden. They predicted into chaos and degeneration for us,” Alexander Lukashenko said. However, in the face of the national calamity, the nation showed true heroism, as it happened many times in history. We did not give up. We found the strength to stand firm, and we prevailed,” the President said.

The head of state noted that the Chernobyl-related damage to the country's economy is estimated at about $235 billion. To date, Belarus’ expenses on overcoming the Chernobyl legacy have exceeded $22 billion. At the same time, the President emphasized, this amount does not include all calculations, all human resources. So the final figure may exceed $30 billion.

“The assistance of the international community has been very small: about 1-2% of our domestic expenditures. Of course, it is a shame that the West used sanctions against us for many years, funded our opposition instead of giving support to us. This would have been in the spirit of the common human values and humanism which the West preaches so ardently. The more so that the Belarusians became hostages to the catastrophe that happened not through the fault of ours,” Alexander Lukashenko noted.

Due to radioactive contamination huge territories had to be isolated. Nearly 140,000 people were resettled. Some 264,000 hectares of agricultural lands became poisonous. More than 20% of Belarusian forests were contaminated. “Thank God we had enough courage not to get into panic. Otherwise, we might have had large abandoned territories today,” the Belarusian leader stressed.

Alexander Lukashenko also added that the Chernobyl disaster became a common pain for the three sister nations: Belarus, Ukraine and Russia, whose representatives gathered in Yelsk for the final concert of the Revival Marathon. “I think that on this memorable day the call from the Gomel land to unite efforts will be as important as never ever. We need these joint efforts to leave the ‘black’ past behind us and usher in the happy tomorrow, to put an end to the mayhem in the east of Europe which has been suspended but not fully ended yet,” the Belarusian leader noted.

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