Ukraine: Siege of Mariupol Continues as Nuclear Concerns Grow

 

Ukrainian officials have accused Russian forces of destroying a children’s hospital in the devastated port city of Mariupol. These reports come as the siege approaches a full two weeks of violence, with neither side willing to cede control of the region.

 

The head of the Donetsk region, Denis Pushilin, said at least 17 people were wounded in the attack, including mothers in the maternity ward and hospital staff. No children were reported injured.

 

Significant efforts to evacuate civilians are underway, as the city council reports online that “the destruction is enormous.” A video attached to the post shows a ruined building and piles of debris.

 

Such is the devastation; Ukrainians in Mariupol have begun burying their dead soldiers and citizens in mass graves. This unceremonious burial has become necessary in the city as morgues overflow. A 25-meter trench was dug in an old cemetery close to the city center to collect the deceased, many of which are wrapped in carpets or plastic.

 

(Caption: A body is being added to the mass grave in Mariupol. Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

 

Meanwhile, concerns are growing for two Ukrainian nuclear power plants, Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhya, who according to the International Atomic Energy Agency have stopped transmitting system data. Chernobyl, famed for its 1986 disaster, was claimed by Russian forces approximately two weeks ago. Zaporizhzhya has occupied five days ago.

 

The IAEA’s Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said Wednesday’s statement: “The remote transmission of data from IAEA safeguards equipment located at nuclear sites around the world is an important component of our safeguards implementation, in Ukraine and globally… Such systems are installed in several facilities in Ukraine, including all nuclear power plants, and enable us to monitor nuclear material and activities at these sites when our inspectors are not present.”

 

The Director-General also reinforced that, thankfully, important data transmission in other Ukrainian nuclear power sites has continued.

 

Chernobyl has been disconnected from the electricity grid, but Grossi states that this shouldn’t have an impact on essential functions. However, the lack of external power sources and occupation by hostile forces does raise security and safety concerns regarding Ukraine’s four nuclear power plants.

 

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