The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group has warned that "Militants from the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ [DNR] are ignoring local residents, the Ukrainian government and international warnings, and flooding the Yunkom (Yuny Komynar) former coalmine which was used for a nuclear test in 1979". DNR is widely regarded as a proxy for the government of Russia
The scale of radioactive contamination of soil and water sources could prove "catastrophic", according to an article written by the group for "112 International".
Staff at the Yunkom mine in Bunhe are reported to have told the Organization For Security and Cooperation (OSCE)'s Special Monitoring Mission in Ukraine that some of the mine’s pumps would be shut down on 14 April. This will lead to the gradual flooding of the mine, including the capsule in which a nuclear device was detonated on 16 September, 1979 ("Object Klivazh"). Although nobody knows how the capsule will react under water, the risk of major contamination throughout Ukraine’s independence was always considered much too high and pumps were constantly repaired to keep the mineshaft dry.
According to Euromaidan Press, "The so-called ministry of coal and energy of “DNR” says research has revealed no hazard of radiation". A statement from the "Ministry" says that “scientific research (shows) that the “wet conservation” of Object Klivazh will not lead to pollution of ecology...and radioactive danger to the town of Yunokomunarivsk and to the region in whole...the (DNR) Ministry of coal and energy has come to a decision to flood the enterprise".