Video shows crowd of Ukrainian civilians blocking Russian army from reaching Europe's biggest nuclear power plant

Video shows crowd of Ukrainian civilians blocking Russian army from reaching Europe's biggest nuclear power plant
·3 min read
A crowd of Ukrainian civilians blocking a road in Energodar, March 2, 2022.
A crowd of Ukrainian civilians blocking a road in Enerhodar, March 2, 2022.Dmitry Orlov/Telegram
  • Ukrainian civilians blocked the road to Europe's largest nuclear power plant as Russians advanced.

  • Drone footage shared by the mayor of Enerhodar shows hundreds of people and a barricaded road.

  • An official from Ukraine's interior ministry pleaded with Russia to avoid shelling near the site.

Ukrainian civilians blocked the road in a huge crowd to deny the Russian military access to Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

Drone footage shared Wednesday by the mayor of Enerhodar, Dmitro Orlov, showed hundreds of people on a long stretch of road, some behind barricades of sandbags and tires, and some waving Ukrainian flags.

Enerhodar is home to Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It is in the southeast of the country, where Russian forces have made their most successful advances.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday that Russia claimed in a March 1 letter to be in control of the region around the plant. Earlier that day, Ukrainian officials had said that the facilities themselves remained in Ukrainian hands, the IAEA said.

According to Orlov's Telegram posts, local civilians created a barricade on the route to their city, and the plant.

"This is how Enerhodar — its civilians — women and men, defend their city," Orlov wrote Wednesday.

The scene is one of many striking examples of unarmed Ukrainians standing up to Russian advances across the country. Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine's foreign minister, reposted an image from the video on Thursday.

After the confrontation, Russian soldiers and representatives of the plant met on Wednesday for negotiations, Orlov said.

After that, he asked residents of the city to return home, but early on Thursday asked them to be ready to block the road again, saying that a column of military vehicles was again approaching.

Concerns for Ukraine's nuclear properties were heightened on February 25 when Russian forces captured Chernobyl, the infamous site of nuclear disaster.

After the capture, Ukrainian officials said that radiation levels from the site were increasing. Nuclear experts later told Insider's Aria Bendix that the danger is low as the site had already been largely decontaminated.

Enerhodar, however, is an active plant. Anton Geraschenko, an advisor to Ukraine's Interior Ministry, framed the risk in a Facebook post Wednesday as putting Europe "on the brink of a NUCLEAR DISASTER!"

On February 26, an official from Ukraine's interior ministry told Reuters that Russian forces had aimed rockets at the site.

Speaking of potential shelling, Geraschenko wrote in his post: "They will not be able to penetrate the concrete shell of the reactor, but they will surely damage transformers, turbines and other equipment necessary for the safety of the nuclear power plant.

"An accident may occur as at the Chernobyl NPP [nuclear power plant] or Fukushima NPP."

Read the original article on Business Insider