Ukraine capital preparing evacuation centers for possible nuclear strike

Ukraine is readying evacuation centers in its capital city of Kyiv in preparation for a potential nuclear attack following warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin that his country would take every necessary action to claim victory.

Putin recently threatened that Russia would not hesitate to deploy nuclear weapons against what he called “a threat to the territorial integrity of our country.”

The preparations come following Russia’s escalatory move in the war to annex parts of occupied Ukraine following referenda in each of the areas. The votes were viewed by a large swath of the international community as illegitimate and Ukraine’s allies, including the U.S., condemned Russian annexation.

The City Council of Kyiv says evacuation centers are being equipped with potassium iodine pills, which can help against radiation absorption, in the event of a nuclear strike on the capital.

Putin, in making his nuclear threats, appeared to hit back at comments like those from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who earlier this year dismissed nuclear threats as a bluff.

“This is not a bluff. And those who try to blackmail us with nuclear weapons should know that the weathervane can turn and point towards them,” the Russian president said in a televised address.

Zelensky and the international community have been on high alert over the potential of nuclear attack or accident during the Russia-Ukraine war, now more than seven months on.

Russian forces took the area around Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest such plant in Europe, early in the conflict. The risks posed by nearby fighting and the sustained military presence at Zaporizhzhya, which is still run by Ukrainian workers, have caused international concern.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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