April 13, 2024

Pathfinder News

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Ukraine Nuclear Plant: Russia In Control After Shelling

Russia has taken control of Europe’s largest nuclear power station in Ukraine after it was hit by shelling.

A fire started at the Zaporizhzhia plant after it was shelled by Russian troops, Ukrainian officials say.

The UN’s nuclear watchdog said radiation levels and the safety of reactors were not affected. World leaders have accused Russia of endangering the safety of an entire continent, and Ukraine’s president accused Russia of “nuclear terror”. US President Joe Biden urged Moscow to stop its military activities around the site, while Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the “horrific attacks” from Russia “must cease immediately”.

UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the “reckless” attack could “directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”. All three leaders spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone.

Mr Zelensky, meanwhile, said the attack could have caused destruction equal to six Chernobyls, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986. “If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe,” he said.

Russia’s defence ministry blamed the attack on Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a “monstrous provocation” without providing evidence. A video feed from the nuclear plant showed blasts lighting up the night sky and sending up plumes of smoke.

A building within the plant site was set on fire after being hit by a projectile but was not part of the reactors, according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi.

He said safety systems at the plant were not affected by the fire and that there has been no release of radioactive material. He described the situation at Zaporizhzhia as “normal abnormality”, meaning operations are normal but nothing else is.

Earlier, the IAEA said it was in “full 24/7 response mode” due to the “serious situation” at the power station.

One resident who lives nearby said he saw the Russian military attacking the site. “It is just terrorism… It is worrying not just for our region, but for Ukraine and for the world,” Kirill Dovzhik said.

Ukrainian emergency services said they were initially blocked from getting to the scene of the blaze, prompting President Biden to publicly call on Russia to allow firefighters into the site.

Boris Johnson said he would seek an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council on Friday over the attack.

  • In the port city of Mariupol in southern Ukraine, residents are without power and water supplies because of relentless Russian shelling
  • In the north, the cities of Chernihiv and Kharkiv have again come under fire, while there are reports that the city of Sumy has been surrounded by Russian troops

More than one million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion began last week.

Despite punishing international sanctions, Russia’s President Vladimir Putin said his offensive was going “strictly according to schedule, according to plan”.