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Arson suspected cause of forest fire near Chernobyl via World Nuclear News

Firefighters were today still battling to extinguish Ukraine’s worst forest fire in 23 years, but state officials said its spread towards the site of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had been halted. Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk said yesterday that the situation was already under control and that there had been no changes to levels of background radiation.

“Our state emergency services are working very actively to localise the fires,” Yatsenyuk said in a televised report near the site. “Three planes, one helicopter and several vehicles have been deployed. And serious forces, including those from the interior ministry, are being used to prevent the fire from spreading.” He added that the authorities suspected the fire had been started deliberately since it covered areas on either side of the river.

In a government statement, Nikolai Chechetkin, deputy head of Ukraine’s state emergency service, also said that arson was a “probable” cause of the fire.

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