Russia turns Europe’s biggest nuclear plant into a military base

Russia turns Europe’s biggest nuclear plant into a military base

The Russian army is turning Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant into a military base overlooking an active front.

At nuclear power plant zaporizhzhiain the south of Ukrainemore of 500 Russian soldiers who took over the facility in March recently deployed heavy artillery batteries and placed antipersonnel mines along the banks of the reservoir whose water cools its six reactors, according to Ukrainian workers, residents, officials and diplomats.

The Russian army is turning Europe’s biggest nuclear plant into a military base overlooking an active front, intensifying a months-long security crisis for the vast facility and its thousands of employees.

Ukrainian forces maintain control over cities scattered on the opposite bank, about 3 miles away, but do not see an easy way to attack the plant, given the inherent danger of artillery battles around active nuclear reactors.

The new infusion of weaponry effectively protects the plant from a counterattack by Ukrainian forces and amounts to something the carefully regulated atomic energy industry has never seen before: the slow-motion transformation of a nuclear power plant into a military garrison. In a less scrutinized aspect of its war strategy, the Russian army is daily positioning weaponry around a nuclear power plant that is among the largest in the world, using it to cement control of the front line.

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