Poland distributes iodine pills as fighting rages near a power plant in Ukraine

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Poland began distributing iodine tablets to various regional fire departments on Thursday due to concerns about possible radioactive exposure from a nuclear power plant under occupation by the Russians in Ukraine.

Bombing took place near Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest plant, during the fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, and buildings near the plant’s six reactors were damaged.

If a nuclear emergency occurs, neighboring countries such as Poland are likely to be affected. Iodine is considered a protective substance against conditions that result from exposure to radiation.

“After media reports of battles near the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, we decided … at an early stage to take precautionary measures to distribute iodine,” Reuters quoted Deputy Interior Minister Blazej Pobuzi as saying.

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The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is the largest nuclear plant in Europe.
(International Atomic Energy Agency / Handout via Reuters)

“I would like to reassure all citizens that these are precautionary routines that will protect us in the event of a situation… I hope it does not.”

On Thursday, the city of Zaporozhye faced more intense fighting after the Russian army allegedly fired nine missiles that hit a hotel and a power station, according to a local Ukrainian governor. Reuters reports that the city itself is only 31 miles from the power plant.

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A rescuer of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry attends an exercise in Zaporizhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant located near the city.

A rescuer of the Ukrainian Emergencies Ministry attends an exercise in Zaporizhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant located near the city.
(Dimitar Delkov/AFP via Getty Images)

There is international protest and concern over the situation in the region. UN officials have called for a safe zone to be established around the plant to avoid further damage.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced a partial mobilization that will force thousands of Russian citizens to join the war effort amid the recent losses of the Ukrainian Defense Forces.

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