A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, May 1, 2022. (PHOTO / AP)
Some 1,679 people, including 660 children, have been evacuated from areas near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, an official in the Russia-controlled parts of the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine said late on Sunday.
The head of the UN's nuclear power watchdog warned on Saturday that the situation around the plant has become "potentially dangerous" as officials began evacuating people from nearby areas. "The general situation in the area near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is becoming increasingly unpredictable and potentially dangerous," Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on the agency's website.
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Ukraine is expected to start soon a much-anticipated counteroffensive to retake Russian-held territory, including in the Zaporizhzhia region.
"(The evacuees) have already been placed in the temporary accommodation center for residents of the front-line territories of the Zaporizhzhia region in Berdiansk," Yevgeny Balitsky, governor of the Russia-controlled part of Zaporizhzhia region, said on his Telegram messaging channel.
Berdiansk is a south-eastern Ukrainian port city on the coast of the Sea of Azov, which has been occupied by Russia since the early days of the Russia-Ukraine conflict in February 2022.