Ukraine crisis day 9: Zelensky accuses Russia of "nuclear terror", trying to "repeat" the Chernobyl disaster

WION Web Team
Kyiv, Ukraine Updated: Mar 04, 2022, 10:01 AM(IST)

Zaporizhzhia NPP shelling Photograph:( AFP )

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Following the attack on a Ukrainian nuclear power plant by invading Russian forces, Boris Johnson also accused Vladimir Putin of putting all of Europe at risk.

Ukraine's president Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday accused Russian forces of resorting to "nuclear terror" and attempting to "repeat" the Chernobyl disaster after invading Russian forces attacked a nuclear power plant.

As Europe's largest nuclear plant caught fire after it was shelled, he urged world leaders to wake up and act before Europe dies "from a nuclear disaster".

"No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units," he said in a video message released by his office. "This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror."

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The nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia supplies 40 per cent of Ukraine's nuclear energy and houses six of the country's 15 reactors.

Kyiv says the fire started after Russian troops fired on the facility. 

"These are tanks equipped with thermal imagers, so they know where they are shooting," said Zelensky. 

However, the station's "essential" equipment was not affected and radiation levels were normal, local officials told the UN's atomic watchdog.

Earlier Ukrainian emergency services in a Facebook post had said that "the invaders are not authorising Ukrainian public rescue units to begin extinguishing the fire."

They were eventually able to gain access.

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"As of 05:20 at the Zaporizhzhia NPP in Energodar, State Emergency Service units went to put out the fire in the training building," the state emergency services wrote on Facebook, noting that 40 people and 10 vehicles were involved in the operation.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine last week and began bombarding cities with shells and missiles, Ukraine's nuclear facilities have become a major concern.

"If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe," Zelensky said. "Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops."

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Following the attack on a Ukrainian nuclear power plant by invading Russian forces, Boris Johnson also accused Vladimir Putin of putting all of Europe at risk. 

"The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe," according to a Downing Street statement, adding that Johnson will seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting in the coming hours.

(With inputs from agencies) 

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