Video footage on social media reportedly shows a convoy of vehicles fleeing the area of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant (NPP) in Enerhodar, Ukraine, which has seen shelling in recent days, raising concerns about a possible nuclear accident.
A video shared by the Belarusian media outlet Nexta on Twitter on Saturday shows dozens of cars lined up on a road reportedly located near the plant. The cars can be seen at a standstill, with many people waiting and standing outside their vehicles.
“People are leaving #Energodar and other nearby towns en masse amid constant shelling of the area,” Nexta wrote on Twitter.
Other Twitter users, including Maria Avdeeva, the research director at the European Expert Association in Ukraine, also shared the footage on Saturday.
“A huge convoy of cars is trying to leave occupied Enerhodar. People are leaving their homes next to Zaporizhzhya NPP, controlled by Russian terrorists, blackmailing the world with a nuclear catastrophe. Today Russians again shelled nuclear station,” she wrote.
Newsweek could not independently verify the videos, and has reached out to the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministries for comment.
On Saturday, Reuters reported that Ukrainian officials had once again said Russians forces had been shelling near the plant. However, a Russian official said that the shelling actually came from Ukrainian forces instead.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an adviser to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, wrote on Twitter Saturday that Russians are firing at part of the power plant “where energy supplying south of Ukraine is stored.”
“The goal is to disconnect us from the [Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant] and blame the [Ukrainian] army for this,” he added.
The NPP is located in Russian-occupied territory, but is still operated by Ukrainians. In recent days, the two countries have exchanged accusations about who is conducting the shelling near the facility.
“Rockets and shells are falling closer and closer to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant reactor and to the storage facilities for radioactive isotopes. They say it’s Russia,” Medvedev said in a post on Telegram, who added that blaming Moscow is “nonsense.”
In an interview with The New York Times published Friday, Edwin Lyman, a nuclear power expert at the Union of Concerned Scientists, warned that a fire at one of the plant’s transformers could lead the facility’s cooling system to shut down, which in turn could lead to the release of radioactive materials.