Ukrainians flee amid new catastrophe fears at Europes biggest nuclear plant

Ukrainians living near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant are reportedly fleeing their homes amid growing concern that Vladimir Putin's forces will cause a nuclear catastrophe.

The nuclear plant – which is Europe's largest – was seized by Russian troops at the start of the invasion and was even set on fire during shelling, with officials warning of a disaster '10 times larger than Chernobyl'.

Luckily, the fire was put out but the area is still being contested. Ukrainian officials said at the weekend that Russian forces were once again shelling near the plant.

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Russian officials claimed the shelling actually came from Ukrainian forces.

The facility lies within Russian-controlled territory but is still operated by Ukrainians.

On Saturday (August 13) Belarusian media outlet Nexta shared a video on Twitter showing a traffic jam of cars and buses, reportedly from Enerhodar and other towns near to the plant as locals flee following the renewal of shelling.

The traffic appears at a standstill with some people standing outside of their vehicles.

"People are leaving #Energodar and other nearby towns en masse amid constant shelling of the area," Nexta wrote.

There were several similar videos from other Twitter users such as Maria Avdeeva, research director at the European Expert Association in Ukraine.

Alongside her clip she wrote: "A huge convoy of cars is trying to leave occupied Enerhodar. People are leaving their homes next to Zaporizhzhya NPP, controlled by Russian terrorists, blackmailing the world with a nuclear catastrophe.

"Today Russians again shelled [the] nuclear station."

According to Mykhailo Podolyak – one of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's advisors – Putin's men are targeting a specific part of the plant.

He said on Twitter: "RF fires at the NPP’s part where energy supplying south of Ukraine is stored. The goal – to disconnect us from ZNPP and blame [Ukraine's] army for this."

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Dmitry Medvedev – former president and current deputy head of the Russian Security Council – ominously warned on Friday (August 12) that "accidents" were "possible" at nuclear power plants within the European Union.

Regarding Zaporizhzhya, he said it was "nonsense" to blame Russia for the ongoing situation, and that Kyiv and the West "seem to be ready to arrange a new Chernobyl".

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