Saturday 5 March 2022

Shelling of Ukrainian Nuclear Plant Draws Condemnation

Extremely frightening. 

I was watching the news last night just thinking of all the possibilities, the main one of which was whether a new Chernobyl was in our future. 

At WSJ, "No Radiation Leaks Reported After Russians Take Ukrainian Nuclear Plant":

KYIV, Ukraine—Russian shelling in southern Ukraine sparked a fire at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant before Russian troops took control of the area, according to local authorities and international observers, raising fears that Moscow’s increasingly indiscriminate war could cause a global environmental disaster.

The fire, extinguished Friday morning, erupted at the Zaporizhzhia power plant’s training facility, Ukraine’s emergency service said. None of the plant’s six reactors were affected and no radiation leaked, officials said. Both sides said Russian troops at the complex weren’t interfering with the plant’s Ukrainian staff.

Still, the skirmish provoked international condemnation and fanned fears of a repeat of the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, which sent a vast plume of radioactive steam across Europe and rendered the region surrounding the plant uninhabitable.

Russian forces pushing from the south reached Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located, on Wednesday. After surrender negotiations failed, a Russian column attacked the city on Thursday. Webcam footage showed a fireball rising behind a church in the city, a short distance from the nuclear facilities, and then two munitions, possibly illumination rounds, landed on the compound itself.

“What we understand is that this projectile is…coming from the Russian forces,” International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi told journalists on Friday. Mr. Grossi said he had offered to travel to Ukraine for talks on ensuring the protection of nuclear sites.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called the attack an act of terror that put all of Europe at risk.

“We survived the night that could have put an end to history,” he said, reiterating his call on the West to establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine.

Russia’s government blamed the Ukrainian military for the incident, which it called “an attempt at sabotage.”

“The purpose of this was to blame Russia for what happened,” the Defense Ministry television channel Zvezda cited the ministry as saying.

The war that Russian President Vladimir Putin launched more than a week ago to overthrow Ukraine’s democratically elected government and end its alignment with the West has run into fierce resistance. The Russian offensive has stalled around the capital, Kyiv, but forces have advanced in the northeast and south of the country and Moscow has resorted to indiscriminate shelling of civilian neighborhoods in cities like Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mariupol and Sumy.

On Friday, North Atlantic Treaty Organization Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said members of the alliance had agreed they wouldn’t establish a no-fly zone over Ukraine to slow the fighting or send troops into the country...


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