Aug 7, 2022 - World

Zelensky calls for stronger international response to Russian "nuclear terror"

President Volodymyr Zelensky
Volodymyr Zelensky takes part in the ceremony of presenting orders and other state awards to the servicemen and members of the families of fallen soldiers in Kyiv on Aug. 7. Photo: Str/Ukrainian Presidential Press Service/AFP via Getty Images

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a stronger international response to what he termed "Russian nuclear terror" after the recent shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power, Europe's largest nuclear power station.

Driving the news: Russia and Ukraine accused each other on Friday of being responsible for the shelling, which damaged a power line and forced one of the plant's three reactors to be disconnected, Reuters reported.

  • The attack, which also damaged a nitrogen-oxygen station and another building, did not result in any radiological leak, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a press release Saturday.
  • Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, accused Russia of carrying out the attack in a Telegram post, noting that one employee had been injured as a result.

State of play: Russian forces captured the plant back in March and have held it and the surrounding areas since then, though the plant is still being kept operational by its Ukrainian employees.

  • Ukraine has accused Russian forces of launching attacks from the plant and storing weaponry inside it while Russia claims Ukrainian forces are targeting the plant, per CNN.
  • The U.K. Ministry of Defense said in an intelligence update on Friday that Russian forces operating in areas near the plant have launched attacks on Ukrainian-held territory nearby, leveraging the "protected status" of the plant to "reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks."

What they're saying: Zelensky tweeted on Sunday that he had European Council President Charles Michel about the situation in Zaporizhzhia. "Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community — sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel," he wrote.

  • "The EU condemns Russia’s military activities around #Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. This is a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms," Michel tweeted on Saturday.
  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the IAEA, said in a statement Saturday that he was "extremely concerned" about the shelling at the plant, which he said "underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond."
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