With a “rare neurological disorder” .. Putin’s “resigned” adviser to intensive care

With a “rare neurological disorder” .. Putin’s “resigned” adviser to intensive care

Concern is mounting about the dangers surrounding Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has entered the cycle of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine since its occupation by Russian forces.

The current concerns about the Zaporizhia station are that Russian forces are using it as a “fortress” and a “shield” to launch attacks against Ukrainian forces, which threatens the occurrence of radioactive leaks that threaten the region and the world, according to a report by the New York Times.

The report refers to the city of Nikopol, located in the Dnepropetrovsk region in the south of the country, which is only 80 kilometers southwest of Zaporizhia.

The head of the Ukrainian state company operating nuclear power plants had previously accused the Russian army of deploying missile launchers at the station’s site to fire, especially on the Nikopol and Dnipro regions.

And the largest nuclear plant in Ukraine fell into the hands of the Russians, in early March, after the invasion began on February 24. Fearing a life-threatening catastrophe, the population is constantly fleeing Nikopol.

An obstacle to the Ukrainian army

The New York Times says that as the Ukrainian army prepares for a major counterattack on Russian forces, it is facing a “new and troubling obstacle” – this station that the Russian military has turned into a fortress.

Nikopol is located on the western bank of the Dnipro River. On the opposite bank is the power plant that the Russians use to launch attacks.

Ukrainian military and civilian officials said the Russians, using the station, had been firing “cover” since mid-July on Nikopol and other targets.

In contrast, the Ukrainians cannot respond with advanced US-supplied HIMARS missile systems, which have proven effective against Russian artillery elsewhere, for fear of hitting reactors or stored high-radiation waste.

Oleksandr Sayuk, the mayor of Nikopol, said: “They are hiding there so as not to be hit. Otherwise, why are they at the power station? Using such an object as a shield is very dangerous.”

The attacks from the nuclear plant complicate Ukraine’s plans in the south, which has become a focal point of the war as Russia’s advance in the east has slowed.

For more than two months, Ukraine has been working on a counterattack on the western bank of the Dnipro River, with the aim of liberating the city of Kherson. By using the HIMARS system, Ukraine seeks to weaken Russian positions and cut supply lines.

Rocket attacks this month destroyed a road and railway bridges used by Russian forces to resupply on the West Bank near Kherson.

But the nuclear plant has become a “stalemate” after Russian forces began using it, only three weeks ago, to launch artillery strikes, when the HIMARS system appeared on the battlefield, according to Ukrainian officials.

Using the station as a “shield” to guard against Ukrainian artillery fire, the Russians pose a threat to Ukrainian forces advancing towards the Nova Kakhovka Dam on the Dnipro River, one of the remaining crossing points for resupply.

The retaliatory options of the Ukrainian army in Nikopol are “limited”, according to the report, and one of the methods it used was to carry out precise strikes that avoid as much as possible the risk of damaging the reactors, such as the march attack that it launched and damaged Russian targets only a few meters away from one of the reactors.

A few days ago, a column of black smoke rose a few miles south of the reactors, which the Ukrainian military said was the result of targeting a Russian munitions depot.

The New York Times says that the renewed fighting near the plant “renews fears of releasing radiation in a country with sensitive and dangerous nuclear sites, such as the site of the Chernobyl reactor, which Russia occupied in March but then abandoned.”

The newspaper quoted officials’ statements confirming that targeting one of the reactors may risk a meltdown or explosion that may spread radiation in the winds inside and outside Ukraine, as happened in Chernobyl in 1986, the worst nuclear disaster in the world.

The report also warns of fatigue and stress on the reactor’s control room staff, and says that Russian soldiers have interrogated and tortured the staff on suspicion of sabotage or informing the Ukrainian military of nuclear activities.

The nuclear site is also in a “nuclear regulatory stalemate”, as the Russian military has taken control of the facility, but is run by Ukrainian engineers.

There are fears among the residents of a nuclear catastrophe in the region. Mayor Sayoc says little can be done to protect residents.

Russian strikes on homes appear to be random in the city’s hinterland, digging holes in gardens, setting fires and blowing out windows.

The report says that the nuclear plant “presents a unique challenge that Ukraine has not had to deal with previously in the war.”

Colonel Serhiy Shatalov, who leads a Ukrainian infantry battalion advancing towards the Nova Kakhovka Dam, said that Russian artillery had calmed down after a few weeks of Ukrainian raids using “HIMARS” except for the Russian units at the nuclear power plant,

And about the Russians’ use of reactors as a “cover”, he said: “Do not seek justice in war, especially if you are fighting the Russians.”

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