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    Chernobyl girl: Only baby born inside exclusion zone is now fit and healthy student

    Mariyka, 19, stayed in the dangerously contaminated area because her parents were refused alternative housing by Ukranian authorities.

    She became famous when she was born as she was the only baby to be delivered and then brought up close to the number four reactor that exploded.

    Mariyka would eat fish that had high levels of radiation, drink milk from a cow also in the 19-mile exclusion zone and swim in the river.

    Now she is a student in Kiev where she says she is fine.

    She reportedly said: “I am doing well, I am working.

    “I’m providing for myself. This is it.”

    When she was born in 1999, Ukranian authorities tried to cover up news of her birth inside the exclusion zone.

    Her mother Lydia Sovenko said that the authorities put pressure on them to leave.

    She said at the time: “The authorities are threatening us, they are humiliating us because they want to force us from our home.”

    She added she was treated “like  a criminal” for giving birth in Chernobyl.

    Lydia claimed she had to deny rumours that her daughter was unwell.

    She said: “If people think she is a mutant, or has two heads, they are quite wrong.

    “She is a lovely child who is absolutely healthy as far we can see.”

    Mariyka is not keen now to drag up her past.
    A friend reportedly said: “She really doesn’t care about being unique through being born in Chernobyl.

    “In fact, knowing that she is the only child who was born here after the explosion and who grew up in Chernobyl is rather painful for her.

    “She sees it as a stigma.”

    Chernobyl is back in the news following the highly successful Sky Atlantic drama.

    While the exclusion zone still has extremely high levels of radiation, it is now flourishing with wildlife.

    Mariyka’s mother said: “People here believe that Mariyka is a symbol of Chernobyl’s renaissance, a sign from God which they interpret as a blessing to live here, and that life is coming back to this blighted place.”

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