Ukraine has continued to urge for Russia to withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, citing the potential of a disaster worse than Chornobyl.
Russian troops occupied the power plant at the start of the war, during which a fire broke out in an administrative building, a widely televised event. At the time, it was initially unclear where the fire had begun, and fears were high as to a nuclear disaster that would affect NATO countries, potentially triggering Article V and starting a world war.
Granted, Zaporizhzhia’s reactor is far more modernized than Chornobyl’s and has fail-safes built to mitigate a potential accident. The structure itself is also durable, built to withstand terrorism. However, an attack by Russian forces gone awry (or as planned) could seriously affect the plant’s safety.
This potential has made nuclear war an inevitability in Ukraine – not necessarily the threat of nuclear weapons but the constant terror of a nuclear disaster. Using Chornobyl and Zaporizhzhia as artillery bases, Russia has sought to terrorize Ukraine, operating from positions untenable to hold but impossible to attack safely.