Hundreds of people died from radiation leak 30 years ago
Ukraine pays respects to the Chornobyl disaster victims.
April 26 marks the anniversary of the most tragic nuclear catastrophe in human history. 30 years ago the nuclear power plant accident killed hundreds of people and made thousands forever leave their homes.
The bell tolls 30 times - for each year that has passed since the disaster. Flowers and candles are hiding the names of the first victims. 35 fire fighters entered the burning building of the nuclear power plant that day. The deadly level of radiation didn't leave them a chance to survive. But their memory lives on in the hearts of their colleagues.
"We knew almost everyone of them. We come here everyday to pay our respects. We could never forget them."
Read also Chornobyl: Thirty years later
Vasyl Pashenko used to work at the 4th energy unit where the explosion happened. The man narrowly escaped his death that day, but instead lost his friends.
Vasyl Paschenko, Chernobyl nuclear power plant operator: "I had a day off. And my colleague who was replacing me was buried under the debris. His remains are still there somewhere. Another friend died later in Moscow."
Ukraine honours victims of Chornobyl disaster (UNIAN Photo)
Today Kyiv holds a special prayer for those who gave their lives to stop the radiation leak. Former Chornobyl workers and their families and friends have gathered at the cathedral dedicated to the catastrophe victims. The liquidators say the night of the explosion still haunts their dreams.
Lyudmyla Kamkina, Chernobyl accident consequences liquidator: "Our communist leaders failed to inform us momentarily about the evacuation, so we freely walked around the town for a day or two. The radiation smashed us so hard, it was insufferable."
Some of the liquidators still have to deal with the consequences of the disaster. Chronic disease, permanent disability - these men and women have to rely on the help of the others.
Petro Pereyma, Chernobyl accident consequences liquidator: "I had internal burns they told me, I was literally coughing blood. But then we were banned to mention our wounds, so I had some chronic ailment."
The liquidators say the Chornobyl catastrophe must finally end. They want the area to become safe once again. It would be the best way to honour the heroes who stopped the deadly radiation from spreading.