On the anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, the UWC commemorates and calls for further sanctions on Russia


On April 26, 2023, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) and Ukrainians worldwide commemorate the 37th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster and honor the memory of the victims of this tragic catastrophe. We also pay tribute to the heroic firefighters and emergency responders who sacrificed their lives to stop the deadly radiation leak.   

From the first days following the disaster, the UWC and its member organizations spearheaded public efforts to aid the victims, primarily by supplying medicines and equipment. The UWC also kept the international community informed about the developments and helped expose the Soviet cover-up and denial of this first-ever massive nuclear catastrophe. Ukrainian diaspora organizations advocated including the Chornobyl disaster on the UN agenda in 1986.   

In the following decades, UWC contributed numerous medical, humanitarian, and technical assistance programs to address the repercussions of the nuclear power plant (NPP) disaster.     

Since the start of Russia’s full-scale military aggression against Ukraine on February 24, 2022, Ukrainian NPPs once again came under extreme threat. In the early days and weeks of the invasion Russia’s armed forced occupied and damaged the Chornobyl nuclear power plant, while the Zaporizhzhia atomic plant, the largest in Europe, remains under their control now. The occupiers’ brutal behavior, including shelling in the vicinity of the plant, continues to cause severe damage to the facility.   

Simultaneously, the Russian leadership continues threatening Ukraine and the West with the possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons on the battlefield in Ukraine or against Ukraine’s Western allies. A recent decision by Putin to install Russian tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus is another episode of this nuclear saber-rattling and one more step leading to the escalation of the conflict.    

Moscow’s reckless actions once again serve as a clear demonstration of Putin’s regime’s terrorist essence and proof that denuclearization of Russia must be one more outcome of this ongoing war to guarantee the safety and security of the world.    

On this Chornobyl Disaster Remembrance Day, we once again call on the democratic countries of the world to designate Russia as a state sponsor of terrorism and impose punitive sanctions against its nuclear energy sector. Only by joining efforts will we be able to stop Russian evil – the biggest modern challenge for global peace and security.

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Marta Popyk
Special Assistant for Energize Ukraine
Ukrainian World Congress
Tel. +1 (343) 202-7650