Ukraine minister's "10 times worse than Chernobyl" warning on nuclear plant fire

Updated on Mar 04, 2022 01:35 PM IST

Ukraine minister Dmytro Kuleba gave a dire warning on Friday about the fire at a nuclear power plant, one of the largest in Europe, after Moscow's attack.

Reuters Chernobyl power plant was captured by Russian forces last Thursday. (REUTERS)
Reuters Chernobyl power plant was captured by Russian forces last Thursday. (REUTERS)
By | Written by Ishika Yadav | Edited by Swati Bhasin

Ukraine minister Dmytro Kuleba gave a dire warning on Friday about the fire at a nuclear power plant, one of the largest in Europe, after massive shelling by Moscow. "Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone! (sic)," he tweeted.

An attack by the Russian troops led to the fire, the mayor of the nearby town of Energodar - Ukraine power hub- said earlier on Friday. Ukrainian authorities reported Russian troops were stepping up efforts to seize the plant and had entered the town with tanks.

Mikhail Podolyak, adviser to the Head of the Office of President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy, shared a video on Twitter showing the ‘Zaporizhzhia NPP under Russian fire.’ In the 1 minute, 27 second-long video, three rounds of ‘Russian shelling’ can be seen landing in the power plant site. “The entire Europe is at risk of a repeat of the nuclear catastrophe. Russians must stop fire! (sic),” he tweeted.

Last week, Russia had captured the Chernobyl plant, some 100 kilometres (62 miles) north of Ukraine's capital, Kyiv. The Chernobyl disaster in the then-Soviet Ukraine sent clouds of nuclear material across much of Europe in 1986 after a botched safety test in the fourth reactor of the atomic plant.

Decades later, it became a tourist attraction. About a week before the Russian invasion the Chernobyl zone was shut down for tourists. Thousands are believed to have died or been wounded as the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two unfolds, creating 1 million refugees, hits Russia's economy, and fears of wider conflict in the West unthought-of for decades.

The Russian onslaught on Ukraine has entered the ninth day despite simultaneous ceasfire talks and increasing global pressure on Moscow. The Kremlin has stepped up offensive in the north, south and east.

(With inputs from Reuters)

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