The EU will send 5.5 million potassium iodine tablets to Ukraine, in order to counteract health risks from a potential radioactive leak at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the European Commission said in a statement on its website on Aug. 30.
The pills will be donated in response to an Aug. 26 request from the Ukrainian government, and can protect against thyroid cancer risks.
EU Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič called for all hostilities near ZNPP to cease, as a nuclear incident poses grave risks for millions on civilians.
“The EU is pre-emptively delivering five million potassium iodide tablets to Ukraine from the rescEU strategic reserves to offer people protection in case of exposure to high levels of radiation,” said Lenarčič.
“I want to thank Austria for donating an additional 500,000 tablets to Ukraine.”
Ukrainian Health Minister Viktor Lyashko earlier said that hospitals across the potential hazard zone are well-stocked with iodine tablets, and asked citizens to refrain from buying them in bulk at pharmacies.
According to Ukrainian officials, the agency will focus on ZNPP’s physical and nuclear safety, as well as working to prevent the potential proliferation of radioactive materials.
The Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are captives of the occupying troops.
Recently-emerged footage showed numerous Russian military vehicles parked inside the main turbine hall of the facility, some 150 meters away from the nearest reactor.