The fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been extinguished. According to Ukrainian sources, Russian troops fired on the facility.
Russia, on the other hand, speaks of a “monstrous provocation” by Ukrainian saboteurs. According to local sources, the Russian armed forces have captured Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia after intense fighting. The fire that broke out during the night during the fighting in a building used for training purposes at the nuclear reactor has been extinguished, the Ukrainian authorities said. According to the authorities, the reactor units were not affected. The Russian Ministry of Defense said it controls the power plant. It works normally.
IAEA: No increased radioactivity
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), essential equipment was spared in the fire. The radiation levels are unchanged, said the UN authority, citing the Ukrainian supervisory authorities. According to the IAEA, it was in contact with the Ukrainian authorities during the fire and the fighting.
Mutual finger pointing
The Russian Defense Ministry blamed Ukrainian saboteurs for the attack on the nuclear power plant, calling it a “monstrous provocation”. According to Ukrainian sources, Russian forces attacked the power plant in the early hours of the morning and set fire to an adjacent five-story training building. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the Russian army of aiming specifically at the power plant: “These are tanks equipped with thermal imaging cameras, so they know what they’re shooting at.”
“If there is an explosion, it will be the end of everything. The end of Europe,” he warned. Zelenskyy further explained that only a no-fly zone guarantees that Russia will not bomb nuclear infrastructure. He also addressed the Russian population directly and called on them to protest against the confiscation of nuclear power plants by Russian troops in Ukraine. “Russian people, I would like to appeal to you: how is this possible? After all, we fought the Chernobyl disaster together in 1986,” he said in a televised address.
Biden in contact with Zelenskyy
US President Joe Biden had asked Russia during the night to stop military action around the nuclear power plant and to allow firefighters access. Biden spoke to Selenskyj and found out about the situation, the US Presidential Office said. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also spoke to Selenskyj. The reckless actions of Russian President Vladimir Putin could now directly threaten the security of Europe, Johnson said. He will call for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council.
China: Call to avoid escalation
China called on the warring parties in Ukraine to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities. “We will monitor the situation and urge all sides to exercise restraint, avoid escalation and ensure the safety of the nuclear facilities concerned,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a daily briefing. The decommissioned Chernobyl nuclear power plant is about 100 kilometers away north of the capital Kyiv, the Russian armed forces have already taken control.