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Does Russia Want a Nuclear Crisis Like Chernobyl in Ukraine?

TOS-1A Thermobaric Weapons Used in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Russian TOS-1A. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Could the war in Ukraine take on a ‘nuclear’ dimension as in a crisis? 

Shortly after midnight on Monday, a Russian missile strike targeted a hydroelectric station just 300 yards from the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear power plant in Ukraine’s southern Mykolaiv region. 

The huge blast, which was captured on video by the plant’s security systems, damaged power lines and blew out windows inside the complex. However, safety equipment for the reactors remained intact, and the reactors continue to operate normally.

“The invaders wanted to shoot again, but they forgot what a nuclear power plant is. Russia endangers the whole world. We have to stop it before it’s too late,” said Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on the Telegram channel app. 

“Russia is trying to prevent us from using Ukraine’s capabilities to stabilize the situation in Europe,” Zelensky said last week. “Our ability to export electricity is something that Russia is very afraid of right now. Because we can foil Russian plans to squeeze every penny out of ordinary European citizens this winter as energy prices are expected to skyrocket.”

Energoatom, the Ukrainian national nuclear energy company, released a statement on Monday morning stating that “the Russian army launched a missile attack on the industrial zone of the South Ukrainian nuclear power plant” at 12:20 a.m, causing “a powerful explosion” about 1,000 feet from the reactors.

“Currently, all three power units of the PNPP (Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant) are operating normally. Fortunately, there were no casualties among the station staff,” Energoatom added. The power plant is located about 100 miles north of Mykolaiv and far behind the fighting. It is another Russian attack on civilian infrastructure as the war is turning in Ukraine’s favor

Russia captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant early in the war, but since then, the Russians and Ukrainians have traded accusations of shelling it. Although the plant is in Russian hands, Ukrainian engineers continue to operate the plant, which supplied about 20 percent of Ukraine’s pre-war electric needs.

Russia Says Ukraine War Crimes in Izium are “A Lie”

Despite Ukrainian forensic investigators uncovering 440 bodies in a forest cemetery outside of town, many showing signs of torture and execution, Russia continues to deny it has had anything to do with these murders of civilians.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stated the oft-repeated lie that Russia doesn’t target civilians, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary. “It is the same scenario as in Bucha. It’s a lie, and of course, we will defend the truth in this story,” he said. 

Bucha was the scene of numerous war crimes that the Russians insisted were a provocation and fake. Human Rights Watch (HRW) spent a week in Bucha after the Russians withdrew and documented extensive evidence of war crimes, including summary executions, other unlawful killings, enforced disappearances, rape, and torture.

Russian Pop Singer Disparages Invasion of Ukraine 

More and more Russians are speaking out against Russian President Vladimir Putin and the invasion of Ukraine, knowing that they risk being labeled as “foreign agents” and facing 15 years in prison for speaking out against the war. 

The latest to speak out is Russian pop singer Alla Pugacheva, who has been a popular entertainer since the 1960s. She posted a message to her 3.4 million Instagram followers calling for the Russian Ministry of Justice to “include me among the list of the foreign agents of my beloved country,” adding for “an end to the death of our guys for illusionary goals, which make our country a pariah and make life more difficult for our citizens.“

Artillery Attack in Ukraine

Artillery Attack in Ukraine. Image Credit: Creative Commons.

Within the first 18 hours, her post received 600,000 likes. Her husband, Maxim Galkin, a singer and comedian, was pronounced a “foreign agent” by the Ministry of Justice on Friday for speaking out continuously against the war. Pugacheva’s post showed support for her husband.

Pugacheva, 73, left Russia for Israel shortly after the invasion of Ukraine began.

Expert Biography: Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. A proven military analyst, he served as a US Army Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer in the 7th Special Forces Group. In addition to writing for and other military news organizations, he has covered the NFL for for over 11 years. His work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.

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Steve Balestrieri is a 1945 National Security Columnist. He has served as a US Special Forces NCO and Warrant Officer before injuries forced his early separation. In addition to writing for 1945, he covers the NFL for and his work was regularly featured in the Millbury-Sutton Chronicle and Grafton News newspapers in Massachusetts.