We publish the objective news, period. If you want the facts, then sign up below and join our movement for objective news:


Latest News

Hundreds flee as Putin orders evacuation of town near seized Ukrainian nuclear plant

By Sarah May on
 May 8, 2023

Panic has begun to descend on the town that serves the Zaporizhizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine – seized by Russia in the early days of the conflict between the two countries – with Vladimir Putin's troops initiating forced evacuations in the area and hundreds deciding to flee, as Reuters reports.

The move comes amid speculation that a Ukrainian counteroffensive is poised to begin in the immediate future in an attempt to reclaim some of the territory taken by Moscow over the course of many months of hostilities.

Chaotic Scenes Unfold

Melitopol Mayor Ivan Fedorov commented on the immediate aftermath of the evacuation order, describing vehicle backups of over five hours at the checkpoint leading into Crimea, as the Daily Mail notes.

According to Fedorov, the situation represents a serious risk of a “growing” humanitarian crisis in that shops in the area have ceased receiving goods, hospital facilities have closed, and there have been threats that utilities may also be cut in the near future.

Adding to the urgency of the situation are reports that some locals in the impacted region have begun hiding their children upon learning that Russian forces had been attempting to evacuate youngsters – sometimes without their parents – to regional recreation centers, according to the Mail.

Fedorov suggested that some evacuees have been taken to accommodations in coastal areas, with others transported to continental Russia, an area from which many Ukrainians evacuated under similar scenarios in the past have found themselves unable to return.

Evacuations Spark Wider Concern

As Fox News reports, Yegeny Balitsky, the Russian-backed governor of the province at issue, began commanding civilians to leave the area, including the city that is home to a majority of the nuclear plant's workforce, in a sign that fighting is expected to heat up soon.

Despite voluminous requests from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for Russian and Ukrainian authorities to implement a security zone around the massive nuclear plant to guard against danger in the event of military escalations, those calls have thus far gone unheeded, and growing expectations of heightened conflict have stoked those concerns anew.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Saturday, “The general situation in the area near the Zaporizhizhia Nuclear Power Plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous.”

“We must act now to prevent the threat of a severe nuclear accident and its associated consequences for the population and the environment. This major nuclear facility must be protected,” Grossi added.

Area on Edge

The region near the Zaporizhizhia plant has been under serious strain since the initial invasion of Ukraine in February of last year, and the dangers attendant to such a facility existing in a conflict zone have yet to abate.

Putin's troops succeeded in seizing the facility not long after entering Ukraine, though Ukrainian workers have continued to operate the plant amid the presence of the occupying forces, as Fox News notes.

Fighting in fairly close proximity to the plant has continued at varying levels of severity throughout the war, but with Ukraine's expected counteroffensive, fears of serious damage to the facility resulting in hazardous radiation leaks have escalated in recent weeks.

Given the size of the Zaporizhizhia facility, experts have expressed concerned that the conflict between the countries could trigger a catastrophe on the scale of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Plant Staff to Remain

As CNN reports, Yuri Chernichuk, site director at the endangered facility indicated that operating staff have not been evacuated, and there are – as of now – no plans for them to leave.

Rather, the workers are “doing everything necessary to ensure nuclear safety and security at the plant,” Chernichuk stated.

The facility's six nuclear reactors have been in shutdown mode due to the ongoing conflict, though all equipment continues to be maintained “in accordance with all necessary nuclear safety and security regulations,” he added.

Until the specific contours of the Ukrainian counteroffensive – and Russia's response – become more evident, it appears that those in the area near the Zaporizhizhia facility and well beyond will remain in fearful suspense about the potential disaster that an onslaught of hostilities could bring.