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