PETROPAVLOVSK, Kazakhstan -- A groundbreaking ceremony for a monument to victims of nuclear disasters was held in Kazakhstan's northern city of Petropavlovsk, RFE/RL's Kazakh Service reports.
The chairman of the North Kazakhstan Regional Union of Chornobyl veterans, Yury Loshkaryov, said at the ceremony on April 26 that the monument is dedicated to the victims of the Chornobyl disaster and the 1.5 million Kazakh citizens he said were affected by nuclear tests in Kazakhstan during the Soviet period.
The ceremony was held on the 25th anniversary of the Chornobyl nuclear disaster.
Loshkaryov said the 456 nuclear tests in Kazakhstan over a 40-year period were the equivalent of 160 Chornobyl disasters. Much of the land where the nuclear tests were held is uninhabitable.
Loshkaryov added that only 430 of the some 2,500 residents of the North Kazakhstan region who took part in the post-Chornobyl disaster cleanup in Ukraine are still alive.Read more in Russian here