Ukrainian officials report a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after it was shelled by Russia. Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Zelenskyy called on Russia’s Putin to meet directly for talks. Follow DW for the latest.
Fire breaks out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after shelling
Ukraine’s foreign minister, Dmytro Kuleba, tweeted, “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out.”
Kuleba added, “If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”
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!
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 4, 2022
Ukraine’s energy ministry told Russia’s RIA news agency that firefighters are unable to tend to the blaze at the plant as Russian troops continue to fire on them.
Plant spokesman Andry Tuz said shells were striking the plant and one of the six reactors was on fire. He said the reactor that was hit was under renovation and therefore nonoperational.
Tuz said it was imperative to cease fighting so firefighters could contain the blaze.
Dmytro Humenyuk of the State Scientific and Technical Center for Nuclear and Radiation Safety told Hromadske that the power units have several layers of fuel protection. The plant generates 25% of Ukraine’s electricity.
Humenyuk explained that under certain conditions, the power units can withstand up to 10 tons but are not designed to be hit by bombs or projectiles. If the reactor is seriously damaged and nuclear fuel exposed, the resulting catastrophe would be as bad as Chernobyl and if more than one reactor is hit, the result would be even more horrific.
Summary of events in Ukraine-Russia crisis on Thursday
Russia vowed to push forward with its invasion of Ukraine on Thursday, despite world condemnation and massive economic sanctions from the West.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said his country’s “operation” in Ukraine will continue for now. He said any peace accord must include the “demilitarization” of Ukraine.
Russian President Vladimir Putin lauded the “heroism” of Russian soldiers fighting in Ukraine. He claimed the war is “going to plan” and accused Ukrainian forces of using human shields without evidence.