Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is on fire after Russian troops began shelling it early Friday, according to the mayor of the southern Ukrainian city where the power plant is located.
Mayor Dmytro Orlov of Enerhodar, an industrial town on the Dnieper, had earlier said that an armored column of soldiers was moving towards the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant Reuters.
Orlov reported that Ukrainian forces fought the invaders, whom he described as “young men in athletic clothes and armed with Kalashnikovs” on the outskirts of the city.
A factory official confirmed in a video posted to Telegram that the Russians had started shelling the station on the western edge of Enerhodar.
“We demand that they stop the heavy gunfire,” spokesman Andriy Tuz said loudly in the video The Associated Press. “There is a real nuclear danger at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.”
Tuz told Ukrainian TV that one of the plant’s six reactors caught fire as a result of the shelling, the AP reported.
The affected reactor was being refurbished and was not operational before the attack, he said, although nuclear fuel was still inside, while firefighters trying to get to the blaze were blocked by Russian gunfire.
Ukraine’s nuclear authorities told the International Atomic Energy Agency that no changes in radiation levels were reported near the facility, which accounts for about a quarter of all power generated in Ukraine.
The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, contacted the Ukrainian authorities shortly after the attack on the facility was first reported. The Agency called Grossi appealed to Russia to stop shelling and warned of “serious danger” if the reactors were hit.
US President Joe Biden was in contact with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Friday morning, a senior US official said Agence France-Presse. The White House did not immediately provide a statement on the situation or details of ongoing discussions.
In a hurry Twitter statementUkrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba asserted that Russian troops were firing on the plant “from all sides” and that “flames had already broken out”.
“If it explodes, it will be ten times bigger than Chernobyl!” he wrote, referring to the 1986 nuclear disaster. “The Russians must stop firing IMMEDIATELY, allow firefighters, set up a containment zone!”
On Thursday, a Ukrainian negotiator involved in a second round of ceasefire talks with Russia said both sides had done so came to an understanding related to the safe evacuation of civilians and the delivery of humanitarian aid, but little else.
Shortly after the invasion began a week ago, Russian troops captured the deceased Chernobyl plant, north of the capital Kyiv. Although experts discovered a worrying increase Regarding the radiation that came out of the exclusion zone shortly after the site’s facilities fell into Russian hands, they concluded that the risk of a disaster was low.
This is breaking news and will be updated shortly.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/zaporizhzhia-nuclear-power-plant-the-largest-in-europe-comes-under-russian-shelling?source=articles&via=rss Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, comes under Russian fire