Rocket and mortar attacks near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine have raised fears of a potential radioactive disaster there for weeks, prompting world leaders and even Pope Francis to plead for calm.
“Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Aug. 28.
Moscow and Kyiv have each blamed the other for the deteriorating conditions at Zaporizhzhia, the largest facility of its kind in Europe. But in a potential sign of progress, a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was allowed access to the site on Sep. 1.
Now, at least two IAEA inspectors will establish a “permanent presence” at Zaporizhzhia to monitor the plant’s safeguard mechanisms, even as the war continues to rage nearby. On Tuesday, the agency released its first report on the situation at Zaporizhzhia ahead of a United Nations Security Council meeting, warning that ongoing shelling in the area represents “a constant threat to nuclear safety and security... that may lead to radiological consequences.”
Here’s what to know about the Zaporizhzhia plant and the risks of fighting there:
The latest: Russia fired at least 85 missiles on at least six major cities in Ukraine on November 15, in one of the most widespread attacks of the war so far. The strikes came just hours after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, speaking by video link, presented a 10-point peace plan to G-20 leaders at a summit in Indonesia. As in previous Russian missile attacks, critical civilian infrastructure appeared to be primary targets. Parts of several cities that were hit were left without electrical power on Tuesday afternoon.
Russia’s Gamble: The Post examined the road to war in Ukraine, and Western efforts to unite to thwart the Kremlin’s plans, through extensive interviews with more than three dozen senior U.S., Ukrainian, European and NATO officials.
Photos: Washington Post photographers have been on the ground from the beginning of the war — here’s some of their most powerful work.