Twenty-two years after the atomic reactor disaster in Chernobyl, people in Ukraine, Russia and Belarus held memorials to the victims Saturday, reported the dpa.
In many Ukrainian towns and cities, people laid flowers and wreaths at memorial monuments and lit candles, Interfax news agency reported.
Hundreds of villages around the site of the accident are still contaminated and uninhabitable as they are too dangerous for people's health, Emergency Situations' Minister Vladimir Shandra said in Kiev.
In 500 still inhabited villages, levels of radioactive caesium in food were over permitted limits, Shandra said.
There is still uncertainty over the exact extent of the damage caused by the April 26, 1986, accident in the Chernobyl reactor in northern Ukraine.
While a central study by the World Health Organization (WHO) says that 4,000 people would die over the long term as a result of the accident, opponents of nuclear energy say there will be up to 100,000 deaths.