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stuff with the hardest brushes ever until they were falling over with fatigue and with bleeding blisters on their hands, but nothing helped,” said Chershnev.“We kept measuring the radiation and it was still the same, still high.”Moscow then ordered the trucks back to Chernobyl to be left in a so-called cemetery for dirty vehicles, helicopters and other equipment.“But they told us to keep the system parts, the rockets and the launchers at the base near Boryspil,” he said.Stores and designer boutiques along with Crescent Gardens are just around the corner.Rooms provide guests with free wireless internet access, a fridge and a kitchen area.But there was no bypass road at the time — and orders were orders. Viktor Chershnev, second from left, with fellow Soviet officers in 1988.What Chershnev didn’t know in the early hours of the morning of April 30, 1986, was that a radioactive cloud had already caught up with them and blanketed the city on the eve of its annual May Day festivities. Chershnev was the deputy commander and chief engineer of the Kiev Air Defense Brigade, responsible for readiness at an antiaircraft missile base near the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

It got its UK and US release in 2004, and the 15-year anniversary is celebrated with a European tour where the band plays the album from start to finish.The now-rusty structure still towers over the area and is a major tourist attraction, a frightening monument to the Cold War that even the complex‘s normally fearless marauders have not attempted to cut into pieces to sell as scrap metal outside the zone, a routine business in these parts.In the aftermath of the 1986 explosion — as the government evacuated more than 50,000 residents from the town of Pripyat, including the families of nuclear plant workers, plus more than 75,000 residents of nearby villages — the men of the Chernobyl air defense unit stayed put until they received fresh orders.“Three days after the explosion, on April 29, I arrived at the base with 30 heavy trucks and we loaded on them 30 missiles from the storage hangars,” recalls Chershnev, who headed the evacuation effort.When the red alert sounded, Chershnev, then the deputy commander and chief engineer of the Kiev Air Defense Brigade, was responsible for the readiness of weaponry and equipment at the Chernobyl antiaircraft battalion’s base in a massive in-ground bunker with 10-inch-thick, rusty metal doors.These days, the site also features a 10-yard-long missile launcher’s towing trolley, half-buried in silver moss, the former walls of a second smaller bunker surrounded by dense pines and a vast carcass of barracks with missing floorboards, dilapidated walls and a mural of a Soviet soldier cheerfully calling upon comrades to defend the motherland.

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