Thu. May 26th, 2022

Russian troops Friday seized the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe after a middle-of-the-night attack that set it on fire and briefly raised worldwide fears of a catastrophe in the most chilling turn in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine yet.

(cnbc.com)

Firefighters put out the blaze, and no radiation was released, U.N. and Ukrainian officials said, as Russian forces pressed on with their week-old offensive on multiple fronts and the number of refugees fleeing the country topped 1.2 million.

While the vast Russian armored column threatening Kyiv appeared stalled outside the capital, President Vladimir Putin’s forces have ramped up their use of air power, launching hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on cities and other sites, and made significant gains on the ground in the south in an apparent bid to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea.

In the atttack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, the chief of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said a Russian “projectile” hit a training center, not any of its six reactors.

The attack evoked memories of the world’s worst nuclear disaster, at Ukraine’s Chernobyl. In an emotional nighttime speech, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he feared an explosion that would be “the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe.”

But nuclear officials from Sweden to China said no radiation spikes had been reported, as did Grossi.

Authorities said that Russian troops had taken control of the overall site but that the plant staff continued to run it. Only one reactor was operating, Grossi said in the aftermath of the attack.

Two people were injured in the fire, Grossi said. Ukraine’s state nuclear plant operator Enerhoatom said three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two wounded.

Leave a Reply