Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

World

Ukraine war: Russia rejects call to demilitarise Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant area

  • Published
    52 minutes ago

About sharing

Image source, Getty Images

Russia has rejected appeals for a complete demilitarisation of the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.

The move would make the plant more vulnerable, a Russian official said.

The calls come amid growing concern over safety at the site – Europe’s largest nuclear plant – as both sides accuse each other of shelling the area.

Ukrainian workers operate the plant, which has been under Russian control since March.

Advertisement

It was one of the first sites seized by Russian troops following the invasion of Ukraine on 24 February.

UN Secretary General António Guterres sounded the alarm after meeting Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Lviv on Thursday.

“Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide,” Mr Guterres warned.

The Ukrainian president urged the UN to ensure demilitarisation of the nuclear plant – Europe’s biggest. Mr Guterres added that “the facility must not be used as part of any military operation”.

Mr Erdogan echoed the UN chief’s concerns, telling reporters that he was worried about the danger of “another Chernobyl” disaster erupting at the plant.

Mr Zelensky has criticised “deliberate” Russian attacks on the power plant.

Moscow is accused of turning the facility into an army base, with all three leaders urging the Russians to demilitarise the zone as soon as possible.

But Ivan Nechayev, deputy director of the Russian foreign ministry’s Information and Press Department, rejected the call.

“Their implementation will make the plant even more vulnerable,” Mr Nechayev told reporters.

Map showing Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

1px transparent line

The appeals come as Ukrainian staff, who are working at the plant under Russian direction, warned of a potential nuclear catastrophe at the facility, saying in the past two weeks it has become “the target of continuous military attacks”.

“What is happening is horrific and beyond common sense and morality,” staff wrote in a Telegram post (in Ukrainian).

Three of the four power supply lines linking the plant to the Ukrainian national grid have been damaged by shelling and Ukraine’s nuclear regulator has warned that a complete loss of power supply would mean that “nuclear fuel will begin melting, resulting in a release of radioactive substances to the environment”.

Later on Thursday, an official Twitter channel used by the Ukrainian government said that members of Rosatom, Russia’s state nuclear corporation, had “urgently” left the facility, and an “unexpected day off” had been announced.

“Ukrainian intelligence officers believe that the Russians are preparing a provocation at the [facility],” Ukraine’s Centre for Information security tweeted.

“Following their extensive shelling… [Russian forces] could ‘raise the stakes’ and stage a real terrorist attack on Europe’s largest nuclear facility,” it said.

The BBC has been unable to verify the claims.

Despite concerns, though, the site is said to be far more secure than the Chernobyl plant – the site of the worst nuclear incident in history.

The reactor is in a steel-reinforced concrete building that can “withstand extreme external events, both natural and man-made, such as an aircraft crash or explosions,” experts told the BBC in March.

Ukrainian President Zelensky with UN Secretary General Guterres and Turkish President Erdogan

Image source, Getty Images

line

War in Ukraine: More coverage

line

Advertisement

Latest Tweets

You May Also Like

World

For many years we have seen how the Soft Power used by the Kremlin works exclusively through culture, exhibitions, musical groups presentations, etc. It...

Featured

Yesterday (8th June)  Gotham City media outlet reported that on 21 March Russian businessman Vladislav Klyushin was arrested in Switzerland at the request of...

World

Zechariah and Shama’a have been married for 91 years. As Jewish orphans in Yemen, they married young to avoid being wed outside of their...

World

The Azerbaijani diaspora, which numbers some 60 million people around the world has entered the virtual social media battle being waged between Armenia and...