Ukraine says it will target Russian soldiers defending Europe's largest nuclear plant

Russia seized the plant in March and has been accused of turning it into a base from where it hits nearby towns. Both countries have traded blame for shelling it in recent days, prompting UN warnings of a nuclear disaster

FPJ Web DeskUpdated: Sunday, August 14, 2022, 03:18 PM IST
article-image
A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, on May 1 | AP

Ukraine is targeting Russian soldiers who shoot at Europe's largest nuclear power station or use it as a base to shoot from, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said.

Zelensky has accused Russia of using "nuclear blackmail" at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - Europe's largest.

Russia seized the plant in March and has been accused of turning it into a base from where it hits nearby towns. Both countries have traded blame for shelling it in recent days, prompting UN warnings of a nuclear disaster.

Zelensky says any Russian soldier who shoots at or under the cover of the plant will be a "special target".

A disaster in the making?

The UN nuclear chief warned Thursday that “very alarming” military activity at Europe’s largest nuclear plant in southeastern Ukraine could lead to dangerous consequences for the region and called for an end to attacks at the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia facility.

Rafael Grossi urged Russia and Ukraine, who blame each other for the attacks at the plant, to immediately allow nuclear experts to assess damage and evaluate safety and security at the sprawling nuclear complex where the situation “has been deteriorating very rapidly.”

He pointed to shelling and several explosions at Zaporizhzhia last Friday that forced the shutdown of the electrical power transformer and two backup transformers, forcing the shutdown of one nuclear reactor.

Last week, Grossi said in an Associated Press interview that the situation at Zaporizhzhia was “completely out of control.”

Russian and Ukrainian forces earlier fought for control of Chornobyl, the still-radioactive site of the world’s worst nuclear accident, also raising fears of a disaster.

US-Russia ties at 'all time low'

Russia’s invasion has pushed Moscow-Washington relations to a low point, with Russia warning it may sever ties.

On Saturday a senior Russian foreign ministry official, Alexander Darchiev, warned that any seizure of Russian assets by the United States would completely destroy bilateral relations, Russian news agency Tass reported.

“We warn the Americans of the detrimental consequences of such actions that will permanently damage bilateral relations, which is neither in their nor in our interests,” said Darchiev, head of the ministry’s North American Department. It was not clear which assets he was referring to.

Darchiev said US influence on Ukraine had increased to the degree that “Americans are increasingly becoming more and more a direct party in the conflict”.

The US and Europe, wary of being dragged directly into the war, have refused Ukraine’s request to establish a no-fly zone to help it protect its skies from Russian missiles and warplanes.

(with inputs from agencies)

(To receive our E-paper on whatsapp daily, please click here. To receive it on Telegram, please click here. We permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

RECENT STORIES

Pope appeals to Putin to end 'spiral of violence' in Ukraine Vatican City

Pope appeals to Putin to end 'spiral of violence' in Ukraine Vatican City

Afghanistan bombings: Another blast heard near Kabul school; no casualties reported

Afghanistan bombings: Another blast heard near Kabul school; no casualties reported

Kabul school bombing: Survivors of deadly blast stage protest in Afghanistan capital

Kabul school bombing: Survivors of deadly blast stage protest in Afghanistan capital

At least 174 dead following riot, stampede at Indonesia football game

At least 174 dead following riot, stampede at Indonesia football game

Islamabad magistrate issues arrest warrant against Imran Khan

Islamabad magistrate issues arrest warrant against Imran Khan