Russians fire on Ukraine civilians blocking road to nuclear plant
Ukrainians block roads to Russian advance of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the town of Enerhodar, Ukraine (Screen Grab)

Video footage from the ground Wednesday showed Russian forces firing on ordinary Ukrainians who were blocking a road with their bodies and makeshift barricades in the town of Enerhodar in an effort to prevent Russian troops from advancing on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power facility in all of Europe.

Earlier footage posted on social media and circulated by news outlets showed hundreds of residents and plant employees rallying in the street in the eastern Ukraine town in a show of defiance as Russian troops reportedly seized control of the territory surrounding the Zaporizhzhia complex, which contains six of Ukraine's 15 nuclear energy reactors.

"More unbelievable bravery from everyday Ukrainian citizens," journalist Kyle Glen wrote on Twitter. "The road into the town of Energodar, which contains Europe's largest nuclear power plant, is blocked by vehicles and people."

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The attempt to prevent Russian troops from overtaking the Zaporizhzhia plant was just one of many acts of resistance carried out by ordinary Ukrainians across the country in recent days as Russia's military intensified its ground and air assault, bombarding densely populated cities and moving on the nation's capital Kyiv.

As The Daily Beast reported Tuesday, "A video posted to TikTok shows a crowd of civilians armed only with a few Ukrainian flags go after a Russian vehicle invading their town."

"A caption on the video claims it was recorded in Kupyansk, in Kharkiv oblast in the northeast of the country, although the location could not be verified," the outlet noted. "What is clear from the extraordinary footage is that a group of five Ukrainians spot a Russian SUV attempting to drive down their street and they race to block it off. The vehicle is forced to slow down and around 20 men and women, some carrying Ukrainian flags, risk their lives by swarming around the vehicle. One man climbs onto the hood and attempts to kick out the windshield before the Russians make a hasty exit."

Other video clips posted to social media show Ukrainian residents trying to slow the advance of Russian tanks:

The Ukrainian effort to blockade Zaporizhzhia came amid growing concerns of nuclear disaster as Russia continues to ramp up its deadly bombing campaign, potentially putting Ukraine's nuclear reactors in the line of fire.

Last week, as Common Dreams reported, the Ukrainian government warned that radiation near the defunct Chernobyl nuclear power plant "exceeded" control levels.

In a statement Wednesday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that "any military or other action that could threaten the safety or security of Ukraine's nuclear power plants must be avoided."

"Operating staff must be able to fulfill their safety and security duties and have the capacity to make decisions free of undue pressure," said IAEA Director-General Rafael Mariano Grossi. "The IAEA continues to closely monitor developments in Ukraine, with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power reactors."