Putin evacuates town near Ukrainian nuclear plant over severe disaster threat

Vladimir Putin has evacuated citizens surrounding a nuclear power plant in occupied Ukraine, sparking fears of a meltdown.

Some 1,680 people have been relocated from around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe.

The news comes ahead of Ukraine’s anticipated major counter-offensive.

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Reports claimed Putin’s forces have placed explosives and artillery at the power station, a move condemned as reckless by many.

Among the evacuees were 660 children from more than a dozen towns and villages deemed to be within the immediate area around the power plant, reports the Mail.

The town where the workers for the plant live, Enerhodar, lists among the evacuated as Kyiv prepared to push Russian forces back off captured land.

The power plant and the surrounding area was taken by Russia in the early days of the war.

By inserting explosives into the plant fears have been raised about Ukrainian weapons causing a meltdown were they to hit.

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Director General of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency Rafael Grossi said: “We must act now to prevent the threat of a severe nuclear accident and its associated consequences for the population and the environment.

“This major nuclear facility must be protected.”

Fears of an escalation in the conflict remain, with Russia making a renewed effort to attack Kyiv with missile and drone strikes.

Kyiv reported five people had been injured in the latest round of attacks, claiming to have destroyed 35 Iranian-made Shahed drones.

Reports from the military claim that in the last 24 hours, 16 rockets hit the regions of Kharkiv, Kherson, Mykolaiv and Odesa.

In a statement, they said: "Unfortunately, there are dead and wounded civilians, high-rise buildings, private homes and other civilian infrastructure were damaged.”

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