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Ukraine: Satellite Images Show Fighting Dangerously Close to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Artillery Attack in Ukraine
Artillery Attack in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

After the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant came under fire over the weekend, with both Russia and Ukraine denying responsibility for the strikes, an analysis of satellite imagery by NPR reveals just how close the conflict in Ukraine has come to causing serious damage to critical parts of the power plant facility.

Analyzing satellite images, photographs, and video shared on social media over the last month, the analysis reveals how strikes have inched closer and closer to radioactive materials on the complex and how critical safety systems are under threat.

After taking control of the Zaporizhzhia plant in March, the Russian military quickly began moving military vehicles into the facility.

“A satellite image taken on July 3 by Planet shows roughly a dozen military vehicles parked near some administrative buildings. The Russians also erected several large tents in a nearby lot, presumably to house the troops tasked with protecting the plant,” the NPR analysis notes.

By late July, Ukrainian forces soon began targeting the Russian encampment on the facility – and no matter how precise Ukrainian strikes were, it still posed a risk to the facility, to the whole of Ukraine, and to surrounding European countries.

Satellite imagery and videos also show how Russia appears to have repositioned its troops and equipment directly next to the nuclear reactors in order to prevent additional strikes from the Ukrainian military.

Russia has faced global condemnation for positioning military equipment on the facility, and Kyiv accused the Russian military of using the power plant as a “shield.”

G7 Orders Russia to Leave Plant

The situation has become so dire that G7 foreign ministers have stepped in and called for Russia to immediately leave the facility.

This week, foreign ministers from the world’s top seven wealthiest nations expressed profound concern over the threat posed by military conflict in the vicinity of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant. The ministers called on Russia to withdraw all troops from the facility and said Russia’s presence there undermines the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) ability to monitor the safety of nuclear activity in Ukraine.

“We remain profoundly concerned by the serious threat that the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by Russian armed forces pose to the safety and security of these facilities, significantly raising the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states and the international community,” the ministers said in a statement.

The IAEA echoed the call from G7 ministers and called for Russia to end “all military activities that endanger nuclear security.”

After losing nine warplanes in a strike at the Saki Airbase in Crimea this week, however, the Kremlin seems unlikely at this point to order its troops to move valuable weapons and military vehicles away from what is arguably the place least likely to see a direct missile strike from Ukrainian forces.

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

Written By

Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.

4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Friend

    August 12, 2022 at 12:54 am

    Originally, up to the Korean war, the UN was supposed to be what is now its Security Council. They split over China’s seat in that council. Thereafter, the “UN” of today has become solely an agency of the underdeveloped world and an advocate for peace that would ensure supply routes to the 3rd world. Their bosses’s jobs and pay depend on stopping wars at all costs and under any terms. The situation around the Zaporizhia NPP is just what the doctor ordered for both Russia, who now want a precedent of peace made that would extend over in occupied territories, and the various investors who have trillions at stake. We are also now not hearing from Amnesty International about the Russian army placing the NPP “in harm’s way”. Such hostage taking of Ukraine won’t work. The UN of today needs to get de-globalized right now and take its 47 African countries that support Russia, their Indonesias and their Bangladeshes along with them out of Ukraine.

  2. Friend

    August 12, 2022 at 1:56 am

    Let’s also not forget that once they’ve brought in their so called peacekeepers, the UN will be calling for an arms embargo on Ukraine, and then they will fire at Ukrainian troops. This is in effect Putin’s threat of attacking “The World” with nukes, but it’s Ukraine now that’s threatening. Here the latest: there’s India now raising concerns that they weren’t raising against Russia. It’s easy to see where this is going. Now India will claim it’s well within their right to threaten to nuke Ukraine unless Putin’s demands are met. It’s high time this “world” crap was cut and each just went their own ways.

  3. Yrral

    August 12, 2022 at 4:21 am

    IAEA say their is immediately threat too the plant,the same agency that say releasing billion of gallon of radioactive water from Fukushima into the ocean Google California Fukushima Fish

  4. 403Forbidden

    August 12, 2022 at 2:00 pm

    The direct and very dangerous threat on zaporizhzhia posed by ukro shelling and G7 hypocrisy in sending artillery to the mad ukros means that this proxy war in europe by biden will eventually end in a big nuke blast.

    Europe will have to contend with a coming nuclear winter (thanks, biden!) but this could be okay for many european nations as they’re being swamped by lotsa migrants, not from haiti, but from africa.

    At end of day, one prospect is arguably better than the other!
    THANKS, BIDEN.

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