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Poland began distributing iodine tablets to various regional fire departments on Thursday amid concerns over potential radioactive exposure from a Russian-occupied nuclear power plant. in Ukraine.
There was shelling near Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest plant during fighting between Ukrainian and Russian forces, and buildings near the plant’s six reactors were damaged.
If a nuclear emergency were to occur, neighbors countries like Poland would most likely be affected. Iodine is considered a protective substance for the body against conditions resulting from radioactive exposure, such as thyroid cancer.
“After the media reported battles near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plantwe decided (…) in advance to take protective measures to distribute iodine,” Deputy Interior Minister Blazej Pobozy said in a radio broadcast, according to Reuters.
“I would like to reassure all citizens that these are routine and preventive actions which must protect us in the event of a situation which… I hope will not occur.”
The city of Zaporizhzhia faced more intense fighting on Thursday after the Russian military reportedly fired nine missiles that hit a hotel and a power station, according to a local Ukrainian governor. Reuters notes that the town itself is only 31 miles from the power plant.
The situation in the region is causing international outcry and concern. The officials at The United Nations called for the creation of a safety zone around the plant to prevent further damage.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a partial mobilization on Wednesday that will force thousands of Russian citizens to join the war effort amid recent losses to Ukraine’s defense forces.