A screen grab captured from a video shows a view of Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during a fire following clashes around the site in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine on March 4, 2022.

Anadolu Agency | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images

Russian military forces on Friday seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, according to Ukraine’s nuclear agency, shortly after a night of Russian shelling set a building ablaze at the complex.

The assault was met with widespread condemnation as many in Europe woke to news of the attack on the continent’s largest nuclear facility, in Zaporizhzhya, Ukraine.

Authorities say the fire at the site has now been extinguished by emergency services and radiation levels are normal.

Situated in the southeast of Ukraine, the Zaporizhzhya complex houses six of the country’s 15 operational nuclear power reactors. These reactors produce about half of the country’s electricity.

The State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine said personnel at the Zaporizhzhia facility were monitoring the condition of power units to ensure they could operate safely. The agency said there was currently no information on whether casualties or injuries were sustained in the shelling.

It comes as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine enters its ninth day and amid conflicting reports about which side controls the strategically important Black Sea port city of Kherson.

Global condemnation

World leaders condemned Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the “reckless actions” of Russian President Vladimir Putin could “directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.”

U.S. President Joe Biden urged Moscow to stop its military activities around the site, while Canada’s Justin Trudeau said the “horrific attacks” at the nuclear site were unacceptable and called on Russia to “cease immediately.” All three heads of government spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy by telephone.

The International Atomic Energy Agency has put its Incident and Emergency Centre in “full response mode” due to the situation at the nuclear site and appealed for a halt of the use of force. The U.N. nuclear watchdog is scheduled to hold a press conference on the situation at 9:30 a.m. London time.

The IAEA had previously warned Russia’s war with Ukraine had raised the risk of nuclear accidents and called for restraint from all actions that could jeopardize the safe operations of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities.

The European Union’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said via Twitter on Friday that shelling and the resulting fire at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant “can endanger the whole of Europe.” He said he supported a call for an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council to discuss the attack.

“Russian attacks in the direct vicinity of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants can have catastrophic consequences. They must stop immediately,” Borrell said.

Zelenskyy: ‘Europe needs to wake up’

Source link


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here