Russian invaders reportedly fired rockets at a physics institute in Kharkiv, Ukraine – a building that is believed to house a nuclear reactor and more.
What are the details?
According to a report by The Independent on Sunday, Ukraine’s national security service claimed forces had fired rockets at the institute, which they said could cause a “large-scale ecological disaster”.
The outlet reported that Russian forces were firing missiles from Grad launchers, which reportedly lacked precise targeting.
The facility, which houses a nuclear research division called Neutron Source, and is believed to store at least 37 nuclear fuel cells.
It is not known at the time of this report if the interior of the building – and more specifically, the area in which the reactor and other nuclear materials are stored – suffered damage from the rockets.
This week, Ukraine’s first deputy foreign minister, Emine Dzheppar, said the beleaguered country “continues to gather evidence of [Russian] war crimes for The Hague.
The disturbing news follows a near miss at a nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, in which Russian forces stormed the facility and took over at gunpoint.
According to The Independent report, Malcolm Grimston – honorary senior fellow at Imperial College London’s energy policy center – said the level of artillery needed to destroy a nuclear power plant would be immense, and beyond mere bullets. and firing, indicating that the Russian forces want to overtake the installation, and not trigger a full-scale disaster.
“So it’s much more consistent, at least at this point, that they want to take a facility that happens to be a nuclear facility in that area, but not to cause a radiological incident,” he explained. “These plants are a huge asset; Ukraine derives more than half of its electricity from nuclear energy. You would expect the Russians to want to maintain that because if they want to make it work as part of Russia, it will always need power.
According to the Evening Standard, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, US ambassador to the United Nations, warned on Saturday that Putin’s forces were closing in on a third factory in the Yuzhnoukrainsk region.
Thomas-Greenfield warned that nuclear power plants “cannot be part of this conflict”.
“Reliable electricity is vital to the nuclear facility, as are emergency diesel generators and fuel,” she continued. “Safe transit corridors must be maintained. Russia must cease any use of force that could further endanger the 15 operational reactors across Ukraine – or interfere with Ukraine’s ability to maintain safety and security. safety of its 37 nuclear facilities and their surrounding populations.