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IMMINENT WARNING: Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Date: February 24, 2022

Analysts: Federica Calissano, Iris Raith, Pètra van de Gevel, Christie Hui, Alberto Suarez, Gioia Torchia

Clea Guastavino, Demetrios Giannakaris, Cassandra Townsend, Senior Editors

Map of Ukrainian territories involved in the conflict with Russia[1]

  • Event: On February 24, 2022, Russian forces seized control of the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, hours after Russia started invading Ukraine, striking by air, land, and sea.[2] Ukraine has reported Russian forces entering its territories from the north, south, and east, through Belarus and the Crimea region, with at least 57 deaths reported.[3] Ukraine has further reported ongoing fighting 20 miles from Kyiv, near the Hostomel airport.[4] Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has called his citizens to “fight,” claiming that weapons “will be issued to everyone who wants them.”[5] At the time of this report, Russia fired at least 160 missiles at Ukrainian targets,[6] with missile raids reported above Ivano-Frankivsk airport in the western city of Ivano-Frankivsk[7] and a military facility outside the eastern city of Mariupol.[8]

  • Significance: Russia very likely targeted and captured the Chernobyl nuclear power plant to deter the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) troops from interfering with their ongoing military operations in Ukraine.[9] The waste storage of the nuclear power plant will likely be damaged during the seizure, increasing the likelihood of radioactive nuclear dust spreading over the Chernobyl region. A direct attack on the power plant facilities will likely spread the radioactive dust to larger parts of Ukraine, Belarus, and EU countries, including Hungary and Romania.[10] As little as one sievert, which measures the dose of radiation received related to its effect on health, will likely cause immediate health side effects.[11] Data shows that workers exposed to six sieverts died within one month from the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.[12] Russia’s capture of Chernobyl, which is located close to Kyiv, very likely indicates that Russia is planning to target Kyiv and overthrow the Ukrainian government. Refugees from Ukraine will almost certainly flee to neighboring countries, such as Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Poland to escape the Russian invasion. These countries likely did not anticipate the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which resulted in Ukrainians fleeing from Kharkiv, Kyiv, and the area around the Black Sea.[13] Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Poland will likely struggle to handle an extremely high influx of refugees from Ukraine.

  • Recommendations

    • Nuclear, biological, and chemical equipment, such as earplugs, safety glasses, safety shoes, and helmets, should be delivered to Ukraine by NATO. This will likely better equip the Ukrainian Army to face radiation fallout when fighting around Chernobyl.

    • It is recommended that NATO closely monitor the conflict, especially if Russia moves its forces toward the west. Russian forces approaching Lviv and the Carpathians would put Russian forces in NATO’s direct proximity. NATO Response Force and battlegroups in Poland and the Baltics are recommended to mobilize to counter the threat of Russian forces approaching NATO’s eastern flank.

    • Kyiv should strengthen its defenses and prepare for the likely possibility of fighting to occur in the city. Shelters should be prepared to house refugees for as long as the fighting in Kyiv takes place. Hospitals should prepare to store medicine and blood for the high number of casualties and injuries of both military personnel and civilians that are almost certain to occur if fighting reaches Kyiv.

    • It is recommended that Ukrainian residents stay vigilant of their surroundings at all times in the upcoming hours and days, taking shelter when threats, such as bombings and explosions, become imminent. It is also strongly recommended that locals stock food and supplies, gather essential belongings, and prepare to evacuate residences if their lives are threatened.

    • The US and EU countries should prepare to provide immediate humanitarian assistance to Ukraine and put in place emergency mechanisms to allow for a swift deployment of military assistance to Ukrainian military forces.

    • The EU and the United Nations (UN) are recommended to establish refugee camps to register and host Ukrainians escaping towards Romania, Hungary, Moldova, and Poland.

    • Law enforcement authorities should increase vigilance at Russian embassies worldwide to prepare for violence and demonstrations supporting Ukraine.

    • If there is any additional and or critical information please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone 202-643-248 or email


[2] Russia-Ukraine live updates: Russian forces seize Chernobyl site, Al Jazeera, February 2022,

[3] Ibid

[5] Russia-Ukraine live updates: Russian forces seize Chernobyl site, Al Jazeera, February 2022,

[6] Ibid

[7] Ukraine invasion: Missile hits Ivano-Frankivsk airport amid Russian attack, The Independent, February 2022,

[8] Russia attack aftermath at Ukraine military site, Euronews, February 2022,

[9] Russia-Ukraine live updates: Russian forces seize Chernobyl site, Al Jazeera, February 2022,

[10] Russian forces take Chernobyl zone, Ukraine says, raising fears of ‘ecological disaster’, The Washington Post, February 2022,

[11] “Some comparative whole-body radiation doses and their effects,” World Nuclear Association, 2016,

[13] Stay or flee? Kyiv comes to terms with disaster of Russian invasion, The Guardian, February 2022,



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