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MOSCOW, April 26. /TASS/. The scale of the Chernobyl disaster was minimized only by selfless efforts of the experts who were performing their civic duty, Russian President Vladimir Putin says.
"Chernobyl has become a serious lesson for all mankind, and to this day it has severe repercussions on both the environment and human health. The scale of the tragedy could be immeasurably greater, if it were not for the unprecedented courage and dedication of the firefighters, military personnel, experts, medical workers who honorably fulfilled their professional and civic duty. Many of them sacrificed their own lives to save others," the president said in a telegram to the participants in the liquidation of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster effects that is published on the Kremlin website on Tuesday.
The telegram also says that "we rightly consider the participants in the liquidation of the consequences of this terrible catastrophe as real heroes and bow down before the sacred memory of the deceased."
"And of course, we bow down before the liquidators-veterans who do not forget about their deceased fellows, support their families, are actively engaged in the much-needed social activities", Putin said.
Tuesday marks 30 years of the Chernobyl NPP disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine, caused by a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the atomic plant that sent clouds of nuclear material into the atmosphere. The blast completely destroyed the fourth power unit of the Chernobyl NPP. According to experts, it was the worst nuclear power accident ever. More than 115,000 people were evacuated from the 30-km zone around the station. More than 600,000 Soviet civilian and military personnel were drafted in from across the country as so-called liquidators to clean-up and contain the nuclear fallout.