New York (UCCA) – Thirty-two years ago, the worst nuclear disaster in history resulted from the ruthless exploitation of Ukraine and its people by an imperialistic Russian regime that continuously manifests a callous disregard for human life. Releasing 400 times more radioactive material than the atomic bomb in Hiroshima, the explosion in the early morning hours of April 26, 1986, caused irreparable harm to Ukraine and its people.
The Ukrainian Congress Committee of America (UCCA), the largest representation of Ukrainians in America, commemorates this tragedy annually, offering our prayers for all the victims killed by this tragedy and all those who continue to suffer from its effects. This year, we once again call upon the international community to join UCCA in ensuring that the ongoing needs of the victims are never forgotten. In light of Russia’s continued and blatant disregard for humanity, as evidenced by the consequences of their illegal occupation of Crimea and their ongoing aggression in Eastern Ukraine, we will continue our call for justice in the name of the Kremlin’s victims.
The explosion that occurred in the fourth reactor of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant took place just 64 miles north of Ukraine’s capital, Kyiv. It was only after radiation levels set off alarms at a nuclear power plant in Sweden two days later, that the Soviet authorities issued any acknowledgement of the disaster. The totalitarian communist regime, however, refused to provide any concrete details in an attempt to conceal the explosion’s magnitude. In its blatant disregard for human life, Moscow allowed thousands of innocent Ukrainians, including schoolchildren, oblivious to the dangers emanating from Chornobyl, to participate in the planned May Day parade five days following the explosion. The terrible impact of the Chornobyl disaster is still felt to this day, with adverse effects on the health of many people, not to mention the ecological and economic strains on the Ukrainian nation.
On this 32nd commemoration of that terrible tragedy at Chornobyl, let us never forget this crime against humanity that forever changed Ukraine and the world.