A Carlton garage has arranged for a tour vehicle used at the Chernobyl power plant in Ukraine to be repaired after it was stolen and vandalised by Russian troops following their occupation of the site.
The yellow Lada vehicle had been used for many years to take tourists on visits around the site of the former power plant and abandoned city of Pripyat.
Tour company SoloEast travel had the vehicle stolen by Russian troops when they invaded their property, but it was miraculously found through local help once the troops had left, and has now been repaired following help from Lindleys Autocentres on Oakdale Road in the town.
The vehicle had been sprayed with a ‘V’ sign which has been a common theme in Russian occupied vehicles throughout the conflict along with the ‘Z’ sign. It also required bodywork for dents, a new gearstick, and a new boot lock after they were damaged.
Russian troops seized Chernobyl at the beginning of their invasion of Ukraine on February 24. Thousands of tanks and troops rumbled into the forested Chernobyl exclusion zone in the earliest hours of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine churning up highly contaminated soil from the site of the 1986 accident that was the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
For more than a month, Russian soldiers dug trenches and bunked in the earth exposing themselves to radiation poisoning within sight of the massive structure built to contain radiation from the damaged Chernobyl nuclear reactor. They held personnel still working at the plant at gunpoint during a marathon shift of more than a month, with employees sleeping on tabletops and eating just twice a day.
Ryan O’Donnell, director at Lindleys Autocentres said: “After visiting the site last year with SoloEast and seeing a post on their Instagram page, I knew we could help them repair the vehicle and get them back on their feet. The situation across Ukraine is terrible and as a company, we’ve organised collections at our branches for essential goods and funds to donate to the people of Ukraine.”
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