Why did the Russians take Chernobyl?
The answer is geography: Chernobyl sits on the shortest route from Belarus to Kyiv, Ukrainian’s capital, and so runs along a logical line of attack for the Russian forces invading Ukraine.
In seizing Chernobyl, Western military analysts said Russia was simply using the fastest invasion route from Belarus, an ally of Moscow and a staging ground for Russian troops, to Kyiv.
The Dnieper River is the fourth longest river in Europe. It runs a total length of 1,368 miles extending from the uplands of Russia’s Valdai Hills where it flows in a southerly direction through western Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine before emptying into the Black Sea. The River is usually divided into three parts; the upper portion reaches as far as Kiev, the middle portion generally refers to the area between Kiev and the Ukrainian city of Zaporizhzhya, and the lower portion is comprised of the area between Zaporizhzha and the river’s mouth at the Black Sea. Approximately 300 miles of the waterway is located in Russia, 430 miles are in Belarus, and 680 miles within Ukraine. The Dnieper River is significant not only due to its dams which provide hydro power but also for facilitating trade and providing a waterway in which to transport goods to and from various European nations.