Russian Forces Now Occupy Europe’s Largest Nuclear Plant In Ukraine
The director of the IAEA says the situation is unprecedented and he wants to broker nuclear security talks between Russia and Ukraine at Chernobyl.
After one of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant's buildings was set on fire as Russia pushed its offensive, the Ukrainian facility is now under the control of Russian forces, according to Rafael Grossi, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). He also states that Ukrainian staffers continue to keep the facility operating and that the entire situation is 'unprecedented' and extremely dangerous. He wants to meet with both parties at Chernobyl to secure a framework for security of all the nuclear sites in Ukraine to make sure there are no future attacks and to guarantee their general safety. He also notes that the projectiles that hit the facility were from the Russian military.
With that being said, make sure to catch up with all the most recent past developments on the conflict in Ukraine by checking out our last rolling coverage post. Now let's get to what else is new.
UPDATED: 8:30 AM EST—
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that the situation in the conflict is only likely to get worse in the days to come, including the expectation that Russian forces will not only step up their attacks across Ukraine but also start to employ heavier weaponry.
Following an extraordinary meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg described Russia’s invasion of Ukraine as “the worst military aggression in Europe for decades.”
“With cities under siege, schools, hospitals, and residential buildings shelled. Reckless actions around a nuclear power plant last night and many civilians killed or wounded. The days to come are likely to be worse, with more death, more sufferings, and more destruction.”
However, Stoltenberg rejected the idea of establishing a no-fly zone over part or all of Ukraine, an idea that's been gaining some traction as of late and which the alliance has also now discussed.
In a sign that the Kremlin expects its forces to be engaged on the ground in Ukraine for the long haul, and that its losses so far have been worse than expected, a recent video appears to show Russian armor being sent to Ukraine from a garrison in Khabarovsk, in the Far East region of the country. The rail trip for these units is expected to take at least a week.
UPDATED: 7:00 AM EST—
Russian military aircraft losses over Ukraine are continuing to mount, based on the latest imagery to emerge from the country. Earlier today, the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense published a photo of the wreckage of a Russian Aerospace Forces Su-25 Frogfoot ground-attack aircraft, a type that has apparently already seen extensive use with both sides during the conflict. Russia's TASS news agency had already reported an earlier Su-25 loss, and the wreckage of another of the jets emerged on March 2.
The latest aircraft in question — originally misidentified as a Su-34 — is one of Russia's more extensively upgraded Su-25SM3 variants.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that a Russian Mi-8 helicopter that may have arrived on the scene of the crash to assist was in turn brought down by Ukrainian air defenses. At this stage, this is only speculation, however.
Only a few hours after the incident was first reported, the Ukrainian Ukrainian Ministry of Defense also published the following tweet, purportedly showing the survival gear of a Russian Su-25 pilot, including what looks like a cut-down AKSU-74/AK-74SU personal defense weapon, and a Makarov semi-automatic pistol. It's not immediately clear if this is related to the same Su-25 loss above.
POSTED: 5:00 AM EST—
Here's our latest general intel assessment from the UK MoD:
Here is the most recent control map:
Russian forces are overcoming some civilian defensive barriers as they push into new areas:
More urban destruction:
Russian forces continue to creep into areas close to Kyiv:
More oligarchs are vocally unhappy with the current situation:
So much equipment has been abandoned by Russian forces, including this fully loaded Grad launcher:
Getting lots of reports of people trying to leave Russia, which could get very tough to do in the not so distant future:
Another Russian Su-25 down:
Mauripol remains surrounded or contested (in some areas) with utilities shutting down across the city and constant shelling ongoing. Not a lot of video out of there in the last few hours, but here are some from the last 24 hours:
We got our first clear look at the state of the An-225 at Hostomel Airport and it isn't pretty. See our whole report here.
We will continue to update this post with new information until we state otherwise.
Contact the author: Tyler@thedrive.com