The early phase of severe accidents in VVER reactors was simulated in the CODEX (COre Degradation EXperiment) facility with electrically heated fuel rod bundles. The selected test conditions and applied measurement techniques made possible the observation of some specific phenomena, such as the protective role of oxide scale during quenching of high-temperature bundles, the composition of gases produced during the oxidation of boron-carbide control rods, and the interlink between the aerosol release and the oxidation process. The general behavior of the VVER bundles did not differ significantly from that of the Western-design light water reactor bundles tested under similar high-temperature conditions, but the experiments emphasized that the application of VVER-specific material properties and models is essential for comprehensive numerical simulations.