Ukraine is preparing for any possible attacks from Russia, including the most extreme and worst-case scenario, a nuclear attack.

Authorities in Kyiv started publicly distributing potassium iodine pills to its citizens and issuing safety precautions in the event of a nuclear attack. The city council of Ukraine’s capital also started preparing evacuation centers.

Potassium iodide pills work by saturating the thyroid gland with non-radioactive iodine. This prevents the absorption of radioactive iodine, which can lead to thyroid cancer. The medications are most effective when taken within four hours of radiation exposure.

Last month, the European Commission pledged to deliver 5.5 million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine as a “preventative safety measure,”, especially for residents living near nuclear facilities like Zaporizhzhia. This was also the time when there was a lot of shelling around the Zaporizhzhia Power Plant, and the UN intervened to ensure the facility’s structure was safe.

Janez Lenarcic, Euro bloc’s top official for crisis management, said the plant should never be used as a “war theater.”

“It is unacceptable that civilian lives are put in danger. We will continue to be on the lookout and stand ready to act.”

Kyiv, Ukraine
(Source: Breaking News 24/7 / Twitter Screengrab)

The more than 5 million pills were part of the 20 million reserves created by the Euro bloc in April as a pre-emptive response to any nuclear threat. When Zaporizhzhia became a hotbed during the Ukraine-Russia confrontation, hundreds of Europeans fled to pharmacies to stockpile iodine pills. And in Belgium, the government provided free iodine tables, and 30,000 were sent out to citizens in a single day, according to Kyiv Post.

In the case of emergency, the block has 15 million tablets ready to be distributed from Germany, while Austria has already sent out 500,000 pills to Ukraine for their national reserves.

Russia Expedites Annexation Plans Amid Stark Losses

After SOFREP reported a disconnect within the Russian government around the legal approval of President Vladimir Putin’s annexation plans, the Russian parliament has announced that they had finally approved Putin’s course.

The upper house of the Russian parliament voted for the approval of the annexation of four regions to be incorporated into Russia. All-in-all, this would represent 18 percent of Ukraine’s original borders. However, Kremlin noted that the paperwork is in its final stages and is just waiting for Putin’s signature.

However, The European Union had summoned the Russian envoy to formally reject the “illegal annexation” of Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhzhia, and Kherson. Kremlin, reported as still in doubt of the borders of these four regions, said they are finding ways to pin down the exact points of the “annexed” territories.

The new Moscow documents show the Luhansk and Donetsk regions as critical bases for their militia. The Russian military would absorb the military complexes within these two regions, while residents would be forcefully required to be Russian citizens by taking an oath of loyalty.

Regardless, just as we covered in our SITREP yesterday, Russian flags are falling down in critical regions like Lyman city, which has now been officially recaptured by the Ukrainians. So even after Moscow’s rush to push the paperwork into its final stages, as the Ukrainian counteroffensive moves forward to recapturing these four major regions, it almost places Putin’s annexation claims to naught.

(Source: Institute of the Study of War)

“The Ukrainian armed forces commanders in the south and east are throwing problems at the Russian chain of command faster than the Russians can effectively respond,” a Western official told Washington Post. “And this is compounding the existing dysfunction within the Russian invasion force.”

The fall of Russian forces in Lyman had been another red flag for Putin’s media coverage versus what’s actually happening on the ground. Unlike the event in Kharkiv, where Russian soldiers were officially ordered to retreat, apparently, in Lyman, Russian soldiers were ordered to stay and push their defensive. However, witness reports show Russian soldiers wavering and pulling back despite official orders for them to stay.

“All Russian forces withdrew in poor order, suffering high casualties from artillery fire as they attempted to leave,” the Western official said of Lyman, comparing it to Kharkiv. “Then, as you recall, troops received an order to cede the territory,” the official said. “But in Lyman, we think that the Russian troops retreated despite orders to defend and remain.”

“Relinquishing this area is exactly what the Kremlin did not want to happen,” the official said.