Ukraine, Russia trade blame for risk of nuclear disaster at frontline plant

Author of the article: KYIV — Ukraine and Russia accused each other on Friday of risking nuclear disaster by shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces in a region expected to become one of the next big front lines of the war. Western countries have called for Moscow to withdraw its troops…
Ukraine, Russia trade blame for risk of nuclear disaster at frontline plant

Author of the article:

KYIV — Ukraine and Russia accused each other on Friday of risking nuclear disaster by shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian forces in a region expected to become one of the next big front lines of the war.

Western countries have called for Moscow to withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the United Nations called on Thursday for it to be declared a demilitarized zone. But there has been no sign so far of Russia agreeing to move its troops out of the facility they seized in March.

The plant dominates the south bank of a vast reservoir on the Dnipro river that cuts across southern Ukraine. Ukrainian forces controlling the towns and cities on the opposite bank have come under intense bombardment from the Russian-held side.

Three civilians, including a boy, were wounded in overnight shelling of one of those towns, Marhanets, Valentyn Reznichenko, governor of the Dnipropetrovsk region, said in the latest in a string of similar reports.

Kyiv has said for weeks it is planning a counteroffensive to recapture Zaporizhzhia and neighboring Kherson provinces, the largest part of the territory Russia seized after its Feb. 24 invasion still in Russian hands. Moscow has installed regional officials who say they intend to stage votes to join Russia.

Ukraine’s Energoatom agency, whose workers still operate the plant under Russian occupation, said the power station was struck five times on Thursday, including near where radioactive materials are stored. Both sides blamed each other for the blasts and Reuters could not verify either account.

Russia says Ukraine is recklessly firing at the plant. Kyiv says Russian troops struck it themselves, and are also using the plant as a shield to provide cover while they bombard nearby Ukrainian-held towns and cities.

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces do not damage the infrastructure (of the plant), do not strike where there may be a danger on a global scale. We understand that the invaders are hiding behind such a shield because it is not possible to strike there,” Natalia Humeniuk, spokesperson for Ukraine’s southern military command, told Ukrainian national television.

The U.N. Security Council, where Russia wields a veto, met on Thursday to discuss the situation. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on both sides to stop all fighting near the plant.

“The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, urgent agreement is needed at a technical level on a safe perimeter of demilitarization to ensure the safety of the area,” Guterres said in a statement.

At the Security Council meeting, the United States backed the call for a demilitarized zone and urged the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the site.

Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said the world was being pushed “to the brink of nuclear catastrophe,” comparable in scale with the 1986 Chornobyl disaster in then-Soviet Ukraine. He said IAEA officials could visit the site as soon as this month.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy demanded Russia return the plant to Ukraine’s control.

“Only a full withdrawal of the Russians … and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee a resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe,” he said in a video address.

France echoed Zelenskiy’s demand and said Russia’s occupation of the site endangered the world.

“The presence and actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences,” the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

DEVASTATION AT RUSSIAN BASE

The main Ukrainian front lines have been comparatively static in recent weeks, but fighting has been intensifying lately in anticipation of what Ukraine says is a planned counter-offensive in the south.

Ukraine’s General Staff on Friday reported widespread shelling and air attacks by Russian forces on scores of towns and military bases, especially in the east where Russia is trying to expand territory held on behalf of separatist proxies.

Pavlo Kyrylenko, governor of the eastern Donetsk region, said on Telegram seven civilians had been killed and 14 wounded in the past 24 hours.

Kyiv hopes that by acquiring new missiles capable of striking Russian logistics deep behind the front lines, it can turn the tide of the conflict in coming weeks.

Satellite pictures released on Thursday showed devastation at an air base deep in Russian-annexed Crimea, struck on Tuesday in what appeared to be some form of attack, although Kyiv has not claimed responsibility or explained how it was carried out.

Images from independent satellite firm Planet Labs showed three nearly identical craters in buildings at Russia’s Saki air base. The base, on the southwest coast of Crimea, suffered extensive fire damage with at least eight destroyed warplanes visible.

Russia has denied aircraft were damaged and said explosions at the base were accidental. Kyiv neither confirmed nor denied any role in the blasts, but noted that the initial explosions took place simultaneously hundreds of meters apart, which would appear to rule out an accident.

The base is beyond the range of advanced U.S. rockets Ukraine has deployed since last month, but within the range of more powerful versions that Kyiv has requested from the West.

(Additional reporting by Reuters bureaux; writing by Peter Graff; editing by Philippa Fletcher)

Financial Post Top Stories

Sign up to receive the daily top stories from the Financial Post, a division of Postmedia Network Inc.

By clicking on the sign up button you consent to receive the above newsletter from Postmedia Network Inc. You may unsubscribe any time by clicking on the unsubscribe link at the bottom of our emails. Postmedia Network Inc. | 365 Bloor Street East, Toronto, Ontario, M4W 3L4 | 416-383-2300

Read More

Total
0
Shares
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

Related Posts
Bitfarms Appoints Chief Operating Officer and Announces Grants of Options
Read More

Bitfarms Appoints Chief Operating Officer and Announces Grants of Options

This news release constitutes a “designated news release” for the purposes of the Company’s prospectus supplement dated August 16, 2021 to its short form base shelf prospectus dated August 12, 2021. Author of the article: TORONTO, Ontario and BROSSARD, Québec , Dec. 09, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Bitfarms Ltd.  ( NASDAQ: BITF // TSXV: BITF…
UK Intervenes in Veolia’s Deal for Suez: The London Rush
Read More

UK Intervenes in Veolia’s Deal for Suez: The London Rush

Here’s the key business news from London-listed companies this morning. Author of the article: Bloomberg News Charles Capel and Victoria Wakely (Bloomberg) — Here’s the key business news from London-listed companies this morning. Competition and Markets Authority: The UK’s markets regulator will unwind Veolia Environnement’s deal for Suez in the UK, asking the waste and water…
Sprott Inc. Announces Results of its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders
Read More

Sprott Inc. Announces Results of its Annual and Special Meeting of Shareholders

Author of the article: TORONTO, May 06, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Sprott Inc. (“Sprott”) (NYSE/TSX: SII) announced today the results of its Annual and Special Meeting of shareholders held on May 6, 2022 (the “Meeting”). Sprott is pleased to announce that all resolutions put forward in the Management Information Circular dated March 22, 2022 (the…
Hamilton Thorne Reports Financial and Operational Results for the Quarter and Six Months Ended June 30, 2022
Read More

Hamilton Thorne Reports Financial and Operational Results for the Quarter and Six Months Ended June 30, 2022

Author of the article: Revenues up 14% for the quarter and 18% for the six months despite supply chain issues and significant foreign currency swings BEVERLY, Mass. and TORONTO, Aug. 23, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Hamilton Thorne Ltd. (TSX-V:HTL), a leading provider of precision instruments, consumables, software and services to the Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART),…