On April 26, 2011, Ukraine celebrates the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear crisis that resulted in severe consequences. Ukrainian President, Viktor Yanukovych, and his Russian counterpart, Dmitry Medvedev, make a landmark visit to Chernobyl for memorial ceremonies.
Early on Tuesday, President Yanukovych also attended a candle-lighting service led by Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill, who struck a bell at 01:23 (22:23 GMT Monday), the time of the blast, in the Ukrainian capital Kiev.
On 26 April 1986, an explosion at the Chernobyl’s No 4 reactor killed immediately 31 people, forced the huge evacuation of thousands of people from their homes in Ukraine, western Russia and Belarus and led to radiation-related sicknesses such as cancer of many others.
A man lights up a candle early on Tuesday in Slavutich, Ukraine in memory of those who were killed in the Chernobyl disaster
Moscow stayed silent on the Chernobyl disaster for three days. The official news agency TASS only reported the Chernobyl accident on April 28, 1986 until the Forsmark nuclear plant in Sweden announced unusually high radiation.
Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill hosts a candle-lighting service in the Ukrainian capital Kiev with Ukraine Prime Minister Mykola Azarov
Many people gather at the candle-lighting service in memory of those who were killed in the Chernobyl disaster
More than half a million rescue workers called liquidators were sent to Chernobyl by Soviet government in 1986 and 1987 to clear up the power station and decontaminate the surrounding area.
The women hold candles in memory of those who killed after the Chernobyl disaster
A child points the portrait of his grandmother, who died in the Chernobyl disaster
The anniversary comes nearly two months after the March 11 earthquake and tsunami struck Japan and destroyed the Fukushima Daiichi power plant’s reactors, causing dangerous leaks of radiation. Though Japanese nuclear authorities raised the severity of the Fukushima disaster up to level 7, the same rank as the 1986 Chernobyl blast, the amount of radiation released was just about 10 percent of that from Chernobyl.
The memorial ceremony also raises global awareness of nuclear power disaster prevention
On Monday, thousands of people in France and Germany staged protests calling for an end to nuclear power