Fears of an imminent attack on a nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine prompted residents of the region to flee on Friday, reports The Washington Post.
Why is this important: Repeated warnings from Ukrainian and Russian officials indicate that a potential attack is planned for the Zaporizhzhia station, which could cause a radioactive disaster that would affect the entire region.
- Ukrainian families near Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine fled to Bulgaria and Germany amid renewed fears of an attack on the factory, according to the Post.
Driving the news: Both sides say the other is preparing to launch a “false flag” attack on the plant, according to the Post.
- The area around the factory has come under heavy fire in recent weeks, BBC News reports.
- Ukrainian officials said Russia was behind the latest strikes and explosions at the plant, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, according to the Post.
- Russian President Vladimir Putin blamed Ukraine for the strikes, warning that an attack could create “a large-scale disaster that could lead to radioactive contamination”, Reuters reports.
Between the lines: Russia captured the nuclear plant in March, but the Ukrainians still run it, Reuters reports.
What they say : Earlier this month, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres called for a demilitarized zone around the plant.
- He told President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that “any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”
- Oksana Markarova, Ukraine’s ambassador to the United States, told CBS News on Friday that the situation at the nuclear plant was “very, very tense.”
- The Biden administration called Russian and unauthorized personnel off the station, she said.
And after: Putin agreed on Friday to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the nuclear power plant.
- Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky also urged the United Nations to “ensure security” at the plant.
Go further: The latest news on the Russian invasion of Ukraine