Ukraine: Preparing for the worst as situation at nuclear plant ‘approaches critical’

It is relatively unusual in Ukraine for a government official to invite you on a short-notice trip.

It turns out it is more common for that invitation to come with very little detail.

The main reason for that is security – it is not exactly wise to publicise when a minister is going to be somewhere, especially when you are being invaded by another country.

We decided to accept, and soon found ourselves at an airfield near Kyiv, where we and other journalists were led onto a helicopter.

By this point we knew our destination was the city of Zaporizhzhia, and the subject was the growing danger from the region’s nuclear power plant further south.

Within 30 seconds of the journey starting, I realised why we were offered anti-nausea tablets before taking off.

To stay undetected, the pilot keeps the helicopter around 10 metres off the ground, occasionally hurdling over electric powerlines.

There are endless fields of sunflowers. Some are in full bloom, some are wilting, past their best….

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