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Report: Russian forces firing rockets at Kharkiv physics institute, which houses a nuclear reactor

  Russian invaders have reportedly fired rockets at a Kharkiv, Ukraine, physics institute — a building that is said to house a nuclear react...

 Russian invaders have reportedly fired rockets at a Kharkiv, Ukraine, physics institute — a building that is said to house a nuclear reactor and more.

What are the details?

According to a Sunday report from The Independent, Ukraine's national security service has claimed that forces have been firing rockets at the institute, which they say could prompt a "large-scale ecological disaster."

The outlet reported that Russian forces are firing missiles from Grad launchers, which reportedly do not have precise targeting.

The facility, which houses a nuclear research division called Neutron Source, and is said to store at least 37 nuclear fuel cells.

It is unknown at the time of this reporting whether the inside of the building — and more particularly, the area in which the reactor and other nuclear materials are stored — sustained any damages from the rockets.

This week, Ukraine’s first deputy minister of foreign affairs Emine Dzheppar said that the embattled country “continues to collect evidence of [Russian] war crimes for the Hague.” 

What else?

The disturbing news comes on the heels of a near-miss at a Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, nuclear power station in which Russian forces stormed the facility and took over at gunpoint.

According to The Independent's report, Malcolm Grimston — honorary senior research fellow at Imperial College London's center for energy policy — said that the level of artillery necessary to destroy a nuclear power station would be immense, and beyond mere bullets and fire, indicating that Russian forces want to overtake the facility, and not trigger a large-scale disaster.

“So it’s much more consistent at least at this stage with them wanting to take a facility that happened to be a nuclear facility in that area, but not to cause a radiological incident,” he reasoned. “These power stations are an enormous asset; Ukraine gets more than half of its electricity from nuclear power. You would expect the Russians to want to maintain that because if they’re going to run it as part of Russia, it will still need energy.”

According to the Evening Standard, Linda Thomas-Greenfield — U.S. ambassador to the United Nations — on Saturday warned that Putin’s forces were closing in on a third plant in the Yuzhnoukrainsk area.

Thomas-Greenfield warned that nuclear power stations "cannot become part of this conflict."

“Reliable electricity is vital for the nuclear facility, as are back-up diesel generators and fuel," she continued. "Safe transit corridors must be maintained. Russia must halt any further use of force that might put at further risk all 15 operable reactors across Ukraine — or interfere with Ukraine’s ability to maintain the safety and security of its 37 nuclear facilities and their surrounding populations.”

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