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Ukraine Says Power Restored at Chernobyl as Russian Conflict Continues

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Aerial view of the Chernobyl nuclear power facility. | Image by Shutterstock

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Ukraine claims to have fixed a power line to the Chernobyl nuclear power facility on March 13, which was the scene of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986. Russian forces presently control the plant.

On March 10, Russia’s energy ministry stated that Belarusian experts had restored power to the Chernobyl nuclear power facility in Ukraine. However, Ukrainian officials had not yet confirmed that Chernobyl’s power had been restored until March 13.

The national electricity grid company’s “heroes,” according to Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko, were able to restore the connection.

Ukraine said on March 9 that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant’s power had been turned off but had enough diesel fuel to keep on-site generators running for 48 hours. The International Atomic Energy Agency downplayed fears, claiming that the pools housing spent fuel would not overheat even without electricity.

After commencing their invasion on February 24, Russian forces immediately seized the Chernobyl nuclear power plant. According to Ukrainian officials, the team of plant operators who oversee safe operations at the site attempted to continue working against Russian troops’ orders. They were also forced to remain at the power plant.

According to Fox News, the news of Chernobyl’s power restoration comes the same day as Russia has reportedly asked China for military assistance.

“We are communicating directly, privately to Beijing, that there will be consequences for large-scale sanctions evasion efforts or support to Russia to backfill them,” U.S. National Security adviser Jake Sullivan said on March 13.

Sullivan added that the U.S. will not allow such a move by China to go forward and allow there to be a lifeline to Russia from the “economic sanctions from any country, anywhere in the world.”

China’s authorities have refused to condemn Putin for invading Ukraine and have spoken out against Western economic penalties. According to Fox News, China has voted no on several U.N. resolutions condemning Russia.

As the Russian invasion of Ukraine hits week three, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced on March 12 that at least 1,300 of their soldiers had been killed so far, The Guardian reports.

An estimated 2,155,271 refugees have fled Ukraine, Fox News reports. A majority of those fleeing to Poland.

On March 13, the Washington Times reported an increasing number of U.S. congress members pressing President Joe Biden to increase military help to Ukraine, including sending fighter jets and air defense systems, something the administration had previously opposed.

The public calls for both Republicans and Democrats to respond to Zelenskyy’s pleas for air support continue to come as the administration turned down a Polish offer to deliver MiG-29 fighter jets to Ukraine. Biden’s According to The Times, this response is out of fear that supporting such a move would be interpreted by the Russians as an escalation of the U.S. role in the conflict.

On March 13, NATO issued a warning to Russia after strikes on a key Ukrainian military facility near the alliance’s border killed at least thirty-five people and injured 134 more. According to The Guardian, a U.S. journalist was killed by Russian forces in a village outside of Kyiv.

The airstrikes on the Yavoriv site in Ukraine came just hours after the Kremlin classified Western supply lines into Ukraine as “legitimate targets,” claiming that Western military equipment earmarked for Ukrainian forces was being kept there.

According to a Russian military official, the operation killed up to 180 “foreign mercenaries and a huge supply of foreign weapons.”

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