Concerns rise over shelling of Ukrainian nuke plant

Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.(photo:Запорізька АЕС/Instagaram)

Kiev, (Asian independent) Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for sanctions to be imposed on Russia’s nuclear industry following the shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.

“Anyone who creates nuclear threats to other peoples is definitely not in a position to use nuclear technology safely,” dpa news agency quoted Zelensky as saying in his daily video address on Friday night, calling for punitive measures to be taken against Russian nuclear energy authority Rosatom.

Kiev and Moscow on Friday both accused each other of firing on Europe’s largest nuclear power station in the Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar.

Ukraine accused Russian troops of attacking the site itself in what Zelensky called an “act of terrorism”.

The Defence Ministry in Moscow, on the other hand, blamed Ukrainian soldiers for the shelling and said that while a fire at the plant had been extinguished, one of the plant’s reactors had been forced to partially shut down.

Earlier this week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had expressed concerns over the safety of the power plant and said that a technical inspection was urgently needed.

The Foreign Ministry in Kiev appealed to the international community to work with Moscow to return control of the plant to the Ukrainian authorities, warning that if an operational reactor were to be hit, the consequences could be “equivalent to the use of a nuclear bomb”.

The mayor of Enerhodar, Dmytro Orlov, warned the city’s remaining inhabitants that residential areas were being shelled from the site of the power plant.

Britain’s Ministry of Defence also said that Russian forces were likely jeopardizing the security and safety at the power station in an intelligence update published Friday.

“Following five months of occupation, Russia’s intentions regarding the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant remain unclear,” the report said.

“However, the actions they have undertaken at the facility have likely undermined the security and safety of the plant’s normal operations,” it continued.

It added that the Russians had used the area around the plant, in particular the adjacent city of Enerhodar, to rest and regroup their forces, “utilising the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks”.

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