top of page

Ukraine war: 'Mad panic' as Russia evacuates town near Zaporizhzhia plant

Russia has sparked a "mad panic" as it evacuates a town near the contested Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, a Ukrainian official says.

Russia has told people to leave 18 settlements in the Zaporizhzhia region, including Enerhodar near the plant, ahead of Kyiv's anticipated offensive.

The Ukrainian mayor of Melitopol, Ivan Fedorov, said there were five-hour waits as thousands of cars left.

The UN's nuclear watchdog warned a "severe nuclear accident" could occur.

Speaking to the BBC's Newshour programme Rafael Grossi - the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) - said the evacuation of residents near the nuclear facility indicated the possibility of heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces around the plant.

Although its reactors were not producing electricity they were still loaded with nuclear material, he said.

Mr Grossi added that he had had to travel through a minefield when he visited the plant a few weeks ago.

Earlier, the IAEA warned in a statement that situation at the Zaporizhzhia facility was "becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous".

Operating staff were still at the site but there was "deep concern about the increasingly tense, stressful, and challenging conditions for personnel and their families".

It said IAEA experts at the plant had "received information that the announced evacuation of residents from the nearby town of Enerhodar - where most plant staff live - has started".


bottom of page