Russian Forces Close In On Two Key Nuclear Sites

Poppy Bilderbeck

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Russian Forces Close In On Two Key Nuclear Sites

Featured Image Credit: Alamy

The head of Ukraine's state-run nuclear company Energoatom has said Russia is closing in on two Ukrainian nuclear sites.

While at the time of reporting, March 3, Ukraine still has control of the country's two key nuclear power plants located in the south, Russian forces are said to be closing in on Europe's largest plant, Zaporizhzhia, in southeastern Ukraine.

Russian military reportedly captured Chernobyl power station on the first day of the invasion, February 24, a move that has since been branded as 'nuclear terrorism' by head of Energoatom, Petro Kotin.

Yesterday, March 2, Ukrainian and Russian forces came to blows in Voznesensk, which is located around 30km away from two plants, Reuters reports.

Russian forces are currently within 35km (21 miles) of both the South Ukraine power plant and the Zaporizhzhia plant, according to Kotin.

Earlier today, a position paper with requests from Energoatom was transferred to the UN atomic watchdog (IAEA).

Ukraine's Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko stated: 'What we want to see is action from the IAEA to raise this issue and discuss this issue and try to (put) some pressure on Russia.

'It's a war and missiles could come from any direction. We need something more than just a declaration. We need to have some action on this field.'

The paper includes calls for the IAEA to enforce a perimeter ban around the power plants for Russian forces measuring 30 kilometres (18 miles), as well as for the agency to encourage NATO to impose a no-fly zone over Russia.

Energoatom also requested that the IAEA lessen its relationship with the Kremlin.

Direct Genera of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, refused to go into details but stated that the agency is figuring out ways to adequately support Ukraine.

According to Kotin, the Zaporizhzhia plant's capacity is at half, but the plant is still functioning.

He said: 'The Zaporizhzhia plant is still working normally. There is no deviation from normal operations but consumption during this war has decreased dramatically to only 3 units from 6 working units.'

The city of Enerhodar, in which the 6,000 megawatt plant is located, reportedly has fighting taking place at its fringes between Ukrainian and Russian troops, according to mayor Dmytro Orlov, who has warned civilians to stay inside, Sky News reports.

Russia's taking of Chernobyl was reportedly a message to NATO to not interfere using military forces, according to a source from the Kremlin's security.

The impact of Russian vehicles on the ground surrounding Chernobyl is said to have caused an increase in radiation of between five to 15 times the usual amount.

Kotin concluded: 'There is no economic benefit. It can only bring trouble to Ukraine, Russia and everybody in the world.

'We ask them to leave this zone and give it back to Ukrainian experts because there could be an ecological catastrophe.'

If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information 

Topics: News, Russia, Ukraine, Vladimir Putin, Volodymyr Zelensky, World News

Poppy Bilderbeck
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