On the 30th Anniversary of the Chornobyl Disaster | Statement to the PC

An OSCE flag and a gavel before the start of a meeting at the Hofburg in Vienna. (OSCE/Mikhail Evstafiev)

On the 30th anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster, our thoughts remain with the victims, from the emergency workers who gave their lives to prevent an even greater disaster, to those living in the area affected by the fallout. Under Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller was honored to speak at a commemorative event at the Ukrainian Embassy in Washington this week, reflecting on the tragic loss and the lessons learned from this disaster.

The United States marked this anniversary with a pledge of an additional $10 million dollars to help ensure the safety of future generations who live in the affected area. This pledge comes on top of the more than $400 million the United States has already committed to the international effort to help Ukraine restore the site of the accident to an environmentally safe and secure condition.

As we reflect on the tragedy of Chornobyl, so too must we recognize the progress that has been made to complete a new confinement structure for the destroyed reactor, which should soon be moved into place. The structure is designed to protect the surrounding environment for the next one hundred years and allow for the safe clean-up of Chornobyl. We look forward to continuing our work with the Ukrainian Government and our international partners to improve the Ukrainian people living there and across Ukraine.

We regret that consensus was not reached on a joint declaration at the April 26 Preparatory Committee held on the actual anniversary of the Chornobyl disaster. We look forward to continuing our engagement on this important topic.

Thank you, Mr. Chair.

As delivered by Ambassador Daniel B. Baer to the OSCE Permanent Council, Vienna