Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, as well as Vladimir Putin’s assertions that Moscow’s nuclear deterrent is on high alert, have sparked panic in Central Europe, with many racing to buy iodine in the hope that it will protect them from radiation.
People in former Soviet-era satellite republics have also crammed passport offices, pumped up their gas tanks, and prepared to go at a moment’s notice, from Poland to Bulgaria.
Others expressed an interest in entering the military.
“Bulgarian pharmacists have sold as much [iodine] in the last six days as they do in a year,” said Nikolay Kostov, chair of the Pharmacies Union. “Some pharmacies have already run out of supplies. We have ordered more, but I am worried they will not last long.”