Russia’s war in Ukraine started over a year ago in February of 2022. Fortunately, it has not gone nuclear yet, but experts are now warning that could soon change, as civilian evacuations are being ordered.
Situation Report: Zaporizhzhya Area Evacuated
Russia is continuing to fight in the east of Ukraine and the South, with Ukraine’s spring offensive set to start any day.
Russians have now ordered areas they control around the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant to evacuate, as experts panic. Zaporizhzhya is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
If it explodes in the fighting to come, the death toll and long-term damage will be unimaginable. There is now mad panic as the chance of a nuclear meltdown that dwarfs Chornobyl becomes a real possibility.
"Mad panic" as Russia evacuates town near Zaporizhzhia plant, says Ukrainian official https://t.co/NqKRPluBgG
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) May 7, 2023
IAEA Issues Emergency Warning
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is in charge of nuclear security worldwide. IAEA Chief Rafael Grossi says the situation at Zaporizhzhya has him “extremely” worried, particularly since Ukraine is now shelling near the area.
Russian forces took Zaporizhzhya and the plant early in the war last year and were reckless around it at the time as well. Now, the chance it will melt down during Ukraine’s attempt to take it back is very real.
As Grossi said, the situation on the ground is “increasingly unpredictable” and this is a serious crisis. Russia has ordered nearby towns that it controls to evacuate all civilians.
Russia is still hitting Ukraine hard and unpredictably, including in its effort to capture Bakhmut, so they can “celebrate” on Russia’s May 9 Victory Day parade in Moscow.
Attacks have also been occurring in other locations, such as the key port of Odessa.
BBC: Russia has sparked a "mad panic" as it evacuates a town near the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia has told people to leave 18 settlements in Zaporizhzhia region, including Enerhodar near the plant, ahead of Kyiv's coming offensivehttps://t.co/qQmdpVriCO
— Business Ukraine mag (@Biz_Ukraine_Mag) May 7, 2023
The Bottom Line
This horrible war is spinning out of control and it goes far beyond just the danger to Zaporizhzhya.
The recent angry tirade of Wagner group chief Yevgeny Prigozhin complaining next to his dead mercenaries about not being supplied by the Russian military may lead to a pullout of mercenaries.
Though either way, Russia’s growing frustration could lead to Putin escalating even further. As both sides get more desperate and escalate, the chance of crossing the point of no return gets closer and closer.This article appeared in StatesmanPost and has been published here with permission.