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KIEV, April 29. /TASS/. A serious lack of firefighting equipment hinders the struggle with a forest fire in the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant Exclusion Zone that started earlier Tuesday, Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk told journalists upon return from the fire area.
"It turns out that we catastrophically lack equipment," he said, adding that the radiation background has not changed in connection with the fire.
He admitted that the fire in the territory of the Chernobylskaya Pushcha plant is the most large-scale since 1992.
Yatsenyuk tried to soothe the public saying that "the situation is under control." "Three aircraft, one helicopter and a considerable amount of equipment are working" to extinguish the flames, he said.
Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Facebook "the flames are again attacking the woodland in the direction of Chernobyl NPP facilities. Crowning fire and gusts of wind have created a serious threat of fire spread in the 20-kilometer zone from the Chernobyl NPP. 400 hectares of woods are in the fire zone."
Avakov wrote on Facebook that the Ukrainian Interior Ministry is considering arson as the key version of the fire.
The Exclusion Zone covers an area of approximately 2,600 square kilometers around the site of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
A deputy chief Ukrainian emergencies official, Nikolai Chechetkin, said earlier today that arson or careless handling of fire could have been the cause of the incident.