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Chernobyl’s ‘real’ Lyudmila tearfully breaks her silence

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Chernobyl’s real-life Lyudmila tearfully breaks her silence: Hero fire-fighter’s widow reveals abuse she endured after her baby died because she nursed radio-active husband through his painful death

  • Lyudmila Ignatenko was pregnant when husband Vasily hurried to the disaster
  • She stayed with him in hospital where he died painfully of radiation poisoning
  • HBO’s series Chernobyl featured a character based on her in the hit TV series
  • Lyudmila claims she was not consulted and was left ‘hurt’, but HBO disputes this

A widow who inspired a central character in HBO’s Chernobyl has spoken out for the first time since the series aired, revealing tearfully how her firefighter husband gave her flowers from his hospital bed before he died of radiation poisoning. 

Lyudmila Ignatenko was pregnant with her first child when her husband Vasily hurried to the scene of the 1986 nuclear disaster. 

She stayed with him in hospital where he gave her carnations from under his pillow, but died painfully of radiation poisoning two weeks after the accident. 

Speaking to BBC News, Lyudmila said she had suffered abuse from viewers outraged that she had stayed in the hospital with her unborn baby, who lived for only four hours after being born. 

Taking aim at HBO, she also revealed she had been ‘hounded’ since the series aired and claimed she had not been consulted, although HBO disputes this. 

Emotional: Lyudmila Ignatenko revealed tearfully how her firefighter husband gave her flowers from his hospital bed before he died of radiation poisoning

Emotional: Lyudmila Ignatenko revealed tearfully how her firefighter husband gave her flowers from his hospital bed before he died of radiation poisoning

Family: Lyudmila and her husband Vasily (pictured on their wedding day with their family) were expecting their first child at the time of the 1986 nuclear disaster

Family: Lyudmila and her husband Vasily (pictured on their wedding day with their family) were expecting their first child at the time of the 1986 nuclear disaster 

Vasily Ignatenko was one of the first responders at the power plant when it exploded in the early hours of April 26, 1986, in what was then the Soviet Union and is now Ukraine.  

Ignatenko was summoned to the blaze but suffered severe poisoning from the radiation which was released into the atmosphere. 

Lyudmila was by his bedside in hospital, in a scene depicted in the HBO series which was released earlier this year. 

‘He stood up and gave me three carnations from underneath his pillow. They were the last flowers he brought me,’ the real-life Lyudmila recalls. 

‘I shall remember until the end of my life how we stood by the window together. We didn’t know this was the last time we would share a romantic moment.’

Revealing how she had been criticised for ‘killing her baby’ by staying with her poisoned husband while pregnant, she said: ‘How could I leave him? I thought my baby was safe inside me. We didn’t know anything about radiation then.’

Dramatisation: Lyudmila was by her husband's bedside in hospital, in a scene depicted in the HBO series which was released earlier this year (above)

Dramatisation: Lyudmila was by her husband’s bedside in hospital, in a scene depicted in the HBO series which was released earlier this year (above) 

Depicted: Lyudmila looks at her dramatised self in the HBO series. She claimed she had not been consulted and was left feeling 'hurt and uneasy' by the series

Depicted: Lyudmila looks at her dramatised self in the HBO series. She claimed she had not been consulted and was left feeling ‘hurt and uneasy’ by the series 

Although Lyudmila praised the ‘attention to detail’ of the HBO series, she said she was left feeling ‘hurt and uneasy’ by the series, in which she was played by Jessie Buckley. 

‘There were people hounding me at my flat,’ she said, saying she had not given permission to HBO or Sky to be featured in the series. 

She said she received a call from Moscow after the series had already been filmed, offering her $3,000 because she was featured in the show. 

However, she did not believe the call was genuine and did not believe she would be offered $3,000 for doing nothing.  

‘Of course I thought it was fake, some sort of fraud,’ she said, saying that the Russia-Ukraine conflict had added to her suspicion. 

HBO disputes this account, telling the BBC that producers had ‘multiple exchanges’ with Lyudmila ‘before, during and after’ the filming of the series. 

She was offered an ‘opportunity to participate in the storytelling process and to provide feedback’, and never indicated she was unhappy, they claim. 

Portrayal: Jessie Buckley in the role of Lyudmila, who says she was not consulted - but HBO said they had 'multiple exchanges' with her and say she never voiced concerns

Portrayal: Jessie Buckley in the role of Lyudmila, who says she was not consulted – but HBO said they had ‘multiple exchanges’ with her and say she never voiced concerns 

Tearful: Lyudmila recalled how she stayed with Vasily in hospital where he gave her carnations from under his pillow, but died painfully of radiation poisoning two weeks after the accident

Tearful: Lyudmila recalled how she stayed with Vasily in hospital where he gave her carnations from under his pillow, but died painfully of radiation poisoning two weeks after the accident

Mourning: Lyudmila Ignatenko at a ceremony in 1990, four years after the nuclear radiation disaster which killed her husband

Mourning: Lyudmila Ignatenko at a ceremony in 1990, four years after the nuclear radiation disaster which killed her husband 

Disaster: The ruined Chernobyl nuclear power plant in May 1986, weeks after the explosion whose radioactive effects are still felt today

Disaster: The ruined Chernobyl nuclear power plant in May 1986, weeks after the explosion whose radioactive effects are still felt today 

Clean-up: Workers in protective clothing in Pripyat earlier this month where a new structure has been put in place to contain the radioactive remains of the power plant

Clean-up: Workers in protective clothing in Pripyat earlier this month where a new structure has been put in place to contain the radioactive remains of the power plant 

Lyudmila said she had only seen a few snippets of the series on Ukrainian TV. 

She has never remarried since Vasily died, but did later raise a healthy child.  

The death toll from the explosion is widely disputed, but listed as 4,000 by the United Nations. 

Up to 350,000 people were not evacuated from the surrounding areas for 36 hours after the initial explosion. 

In addition, more than five million have lived in radiated land around the area in the 33 years since. 

Around 116,000 people were permanently evacuated from the exclusion zone around the power plant, with villages and towns left to go to ruin.

Radiation levels in the region are still too high for humans to live in, but some wildlife has returned to the area.  

Chernobyl’s ‘real’ Lyudmila tearfully breaks her silence

EXCLUSIVE: Hunter Biden’s baby mama releases her tax returns for the last five years after accusing VP’s son of refusing to come clean about his finances and demanding details of his cash from Ukraine amid bitter paternity dispute

  • Hunter Biden’s baby mama, Lunden Roberts, 28, has released financial documents for the last five years 
  • Documents show that she received money from company owned by Hunter between May and November 2018
  • Roberts continued to make the case for her paternity suit by outlining other sources of income she’s received
  • She says her dad paid $1,700 in fees for her to graduate college and she gets annual Christmas bonus at work 
  • Roberts says while she receives items from her family are appreciated, they ‘are not gifts of monetary value’
  • The documents were released amid a bitter paternity dispute between Hunter and Roberts who has sued him 
  • Last week, Hunter was spotted leaving his home in Los Angeles, the first time he was seen in public in months
  • More than a week ago, DailyMail.com revealed that his new South African wife Melissa Cohen, 32, is pregnant
  • Hunter has been laying low during his paternity dispute and President Donald Trump’s impeachment 
  • The president has demanded that Hunter appear as a witness during his impeachment trial in several tweets 
  • Joe Biden says he’s had enough of the focus on Hunter, lashing out during Thursday’s presidential candidate

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The financial information for Hunter Biden’s baby mama has been released exclusively to DailyMail.com, just days after he was found hiding out in Los Angeles. 

Hunter ducked out of his home on Friday afternoon, wearing a blue suede jacket, skinny jeans and boots. He has been laying low during his bitter paternity dispute with Lunden Roberts.

On Sunday, Roberts’ financial information from the last five years was obtained by DailyMail.com. In the documents, the Lancaster & Lancaster Law Firm, which represents Roberts, reveals that the 28-year-old received money from a company owned by Hunter from May 2018 to November 2018. 

‘She never received a tax document for these payments,’ her attorneys wrote, adding that the undisclosed amount of payments are reflected on her bank records.  

According to the documents, Roberts also worked for Hunter and submitted pay stubs as proof of employment along with a health insurance card that he reportedly provided her. 

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Lunden Roberts, 28

Hunter Biden

The financial information for Hunter Biden’s (right) baby mama, Lunden Roberts (left), has been released exclusively to DailyMail.com, just days after he was found hiding out in Los Angeles

On Sunday, Roberts' financial information from the last five years was obtained by DailyMail.com. In the documents, the Lancaster & Lancaster Law Firm, which represents Roberts (pictured), reveals that the 28-year-old received money from a company owned by Hunter from May 2018 to November 2018

On Sunday, Roberts’ financial information from the last five years was obtained by DailyMail.com. In the documents, the Lancaster & Lancaster Law Firm, which represents Roberts (pictured), reveals that the 28-year-old received money from a company owned by Hunter from May 2018 to November 2018

Roberts continued to make the case for her paternity suit by outlining other sources of income that she's received, including $1,700 that her father paid in fees for her to graduate college and her annual Christmas bonus that she receives from her current employer

 Roberts continued to make the case for her paternity suit by outlining other sources of income that she’s received, including $1,700 that her father paid in fees for her to graduate college and her annual Christmas bonus that she receives from her current employer

Roberts continued to make the case for her paternity suit by outlining other sources of income that she’s received, including $1,700 that her father paid in fees for her to graduate college and her annual Christmas bonus that she receives from her current employer. 

‘Occasionally, and without regular reoccurrence, the plaintiff has been provided insignificant amounts of money – what some may classify as “petty cash” – by her parents for her or her daughter’s needs,’ the document reads. 

Roberts said that family and friends have given her and her child toys and other things, but ‘these events are infrequent, and while cherished and very appreciated, are not gifts of monetary value’.

On Friday, Hunter was seen for the first time since DailyMail.com revealed that his new South African wife Melissa Cohen, 32, is pregnant and in her second trimester.  

As Hunter lays low on the West Coast, Trump demanded that he be called as a witness in his impeachment trial since Hunter is at the center of the trial based on his role with Ukrainian oil company Burisma.

And apparently, his father Joe Biden has had enough of the focus on his son, lashing out during Thursday’s presidential candidate debate, claiming Republicans are ‘attacking’ Hunter. 

Joe complained about Republicans targeting not only him and his son, but his entire family, saying: ‘The way they’ve attacked me, my son and my family, I have no love.’

He added: ‘But we must get things done and if we can’t convince them we have to go out and beat them.’ 

On Friday, Hunter was seen for the first time since DailyMail.com revealed that his new South African wife Melissa Cohen, 32, is pregnant and in her second trimester

Hunter Biden

On Friday, Hunter was seen for the first time since DailyMail.com revealed that his new South African wife Melissa Cohen, 32, is pregnant and in her second trimester

As Hunter lays low on the West Coast, Trump demanded that he be called as a witness in his impeachment trial since Hunter is at the center of the trial based on his role with Ukrainian oil company Burisma. And apparently, his father Joe Biden (center) has had enough of the focus on his son, lashing out during Thursday's presidential candidate debate

As Hunter lays low on the West Coast, Trump demanded that he be called as a witness in his impeachment trial since Hunter is at the center of the trial based on his role with Ukrainian oil company Burisma. And apparently, his father Joe Biden (center) has had enough of the focus on his son, lashing out during Thursday’s presidential candidate debate

Last week, DailyMail.com published photos of Hunter’s wife Melissa running errands around Los Angeles, with her blossoming baby bump on full display.  

A close friend of Melissa’s told DailyMailTV that while the couple is ‘thrilled’ at having a baby, there’s also a lot of anxiety around the pregnancy. 

They said: ‘Friends are deeply concerned, anyone who knows Melissa knows that she’s one of the sweetest people you can meet.

‘She’s in love with Hunter and of course they’re thrilled, but the pain and stress they’re going through every day is cause for real concern.

‘There is constant hatred directed towards them from Trump supporters and the President himself.

‘People are attacking her, she’s not running for office, her husband’s dad is, all she wants to do is keep her unborn child safe.’

Trump has ramped up the pressure on Hunter in recent months.

In October he tweeted: ‘Where’s Hunter?’ and in another tweet he wrote: ‘He has totally disappeared!’

The businessman - who has been at the center of a political firestorm over his links to a Ukrainian energy company - married Melissa 10 days after they met in an impromptu wedding on May 16 this year

The businessman – who has been at the center of a political firestorm over his links to a Ukrainian energy company – married Melissa 10 days after they met in an impromptu wedding on May 16 this year

Hunter's wife, Melissa Cohen, 32

South African beauty Melissa was make-up free and appeared relaxed, dressed in sweat pants, sneakers and a comfortable sweater last Thursday

A little over a week ago, DailyMail.com revealed that his new South African wife Melissa Cohen, 32, (left and right) is pregnant and in her second trimester

While Hunter and Melissa are currently living in Los Angeles, they are considering relocating to keep their family safe

Melissa Cohen

While Hunter and Melissa are currently living in Los Angeles, they are considering relocating to keep their family safe

Trump started using the ‘Where’s Hunter?’ slogan at political rallies and his 2020 campaign website is even selling $25 T-shirts that read ‘Where’s Hunter?’.

Trump’s stance has provoked a tidal wave of online abuse and hate against Hunter and his wife.

The source added: ‘And Melissa is also not making a noise about being a new mom because she is respectful of the other woman’s child and her mother.

‘Luckily she’s a very strong woman and she will get through this with Hunter because they have a love which is strong.’

While Hunter and Melissa are currently living in Los Angeles, they are considering relocating to keep their family safe, the friend explained. 

Also last week, an Arkansas judge unsealed a filing in Hunter’s paternity case with Roberts, which revealed Hunter complained she was trying to ’embarrass’ him by demanding details of his financials. 

Trump has ramped up the pressure on Hunter in recent months. The President started using the 'Where's Hunter?' slogan at political rallies and his 2020 campaign website is even selling $25 t-shirts reading 'Where's Hunter?'

Trump has ramped up the pressure on Hunter in recent months. The President started using the ‘Where’s Hunter?’ slogan at political rallies and his 2020 campaign website is even selling $25 t-shirts reading ‘Where’s Hunter?’ 

The president's stance has provoked a tidal wave of online abuse and hate against Hunter and his wife

In October he tweeted: 'Where's Hunter?' and in another tweet he wrote: 'He has totally disappeared!'

The president’s stance has provoked a tidal wave of online abuse and hate against Hunter and his wife

Hunter’s legal team had tried to use his dad to get the deposition sealed, arguing information that came from his deposition scheduled for December 23 could ‘unreasonably annoy, embarrass or oppress’ Hunter – and his family. 

His lawyers went a step further and asked the judge to quash the deposition entirely, saying by handing over an affidavit of his financial means should provide Roberts with ‘all relevant information for any argument of temporary child support’. 

On Wednesday, Roberts accused Biden of refusing to hand over his financial records and demanded that he turn over all documents pertaining to his accounts from the past five years. 

She filed papers asking the court to compel him to turn over the records.

The two met while Roberts worked as a stripper at Mpire in Washington, DC. She gave birth to their child last August. 

She wants Biden’s financial records to establish how much he should pay in child support, as well as proving he can afford to foot her $11,000 legal bill. 

Roberts' (circled) lawyers said in legal papers that Hunter has objected to answering any of their discovery questions, which included confirming the state in which he lives, his phone number and if he worked for Ukrainian oil company Burisma

Roberts’ (circled) lawyers said in legal papers that Hunter has objected to answering any of their discovery questions, which included confirming the state in which he lives, his phone number and if he worked for Ukrainian oil company Burisma 

Roberts’ lawyers said in legal papers that Biden has objected to answering any of their discovery questions, which included confirming the state in which he lives, his phone number and if he worked for Burisma. 

Her lawyers said: ‘It should, by now, be abundantly clear to the Court that the defendant is not going to answer or provide any of his discoverable financial information unless the Court forces him to do so.

‘The defendant has provided no support for this child for over a year. 

‘The Court should not let the defendant continue to avoid his natural and legal duty to support his child by failing to provide basic information about his income, finances and lifestyle. 

‘This Court should compel the defendant to answer the interrogatories and requests for production documents in time for the January 7, 2020 hearing in this case.’  

Hunter Biden’s baby mama releases financial documents for the last five years

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