Victor Yushchenko on Thursday presented state awards to a group of the Chornobyl liquidators to mark the 21st anniversary of the world’s worst ever nuclear accident president's press office informs.

“I am honored today to present the people in this hall with high awards as a token of respect for your exploit. On behalf of the Ukrainian nation, I would like to express gratitude to you,” he said.

“…We understand that there is no past tense in the Chornobyl issue. It follows us every day and will be following us for decades. Ukraine is bearing the heavy burden of Chornobyl,” he said in a speech, adding that lots of measures had been taken in the past several years to help and support those in charge of the removal of the consequences of the 1986 blast.

He reiterated his demand that the country’s central and regional executive bodies develop the contaminated area around the shuttered nuclear power plant, rehabilitate those affected by the accident and create favorable conditions for their activity. He added that it was time we should look at this uninhabited territory as having prospects and put it to use again. He said it was vital to introduce healthcare and economic reforms in Chornobyl and attract investment to revitalize it.

“We are obliged to renew it, search for and implement new forms of post-Chornobyl revival,” he said, suggestingrevisingthe Law on the Status and Social Protection of the Chornobyl Victims.

Yushchenkosaid the country had been facing formidable challenges since the closure of the power plant, thanking Ukraine’s international partners for their assistance in coping with the lingering effects of the accident.

Then they observed one minute of silence in memory of the blast victims.


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