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Wednesday, December 07, 2022

Ukraine: Attack on nuclear plant a cause of global threat

KYV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian troops took control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Friday. Ukraine.

UN and Ukrainian officials said firefighters put out the blaze and that there was no radiation. Russian forces continued their week-long offensive on several fronts on Friday, although they did not make any major gains on the ground in the fighting. The number of refugees fleeing the country exceeded 1.2 million.

Amid escalating punishments around the world, the Kremlin controlled the flow of information within the country, blocking Facebook, Twitter, the BBC and the US government-funded Voice of America. And President Vladimir Putin has enacted a law that gives it up to 15 years in prison for spreading so-called fake news, including any material that violates the government’s official line on the war. CNN announced it would halt its broadcasts in Russia while Bloomberg suspended the work of its reporters in that country and indicated it was evaluating the situation.

As a massive column of Russian armored vehicles threatening Kyiv stood motionless outside the capital, Putin’s military command launched hundreds of missile and artillery attacks on cities and elsewhere in the country, making significant gains in the south, apparently. Outlet to the sea in an attempt to cut off Ukraine.

Argentine Rafael Mariano Grossi, director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said a Russian “projectile” struck a training center at the Zaporizhzhya plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, without affecting any of its six reactors.

The attack caused global alarm and fear of a catastrophe that could be greater than the world’s deadliest nuclear disaster, which occurred in Chernobyl, Ukraine, in 1986. In an emotional speech overnight, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said he feared an explosion that was “the end for all, the end of Europe, the evacuation of Europe”.

However, nuclear officials in several countries, including Sweden and China, confirmed that no radiation spikes were reported, as Grossi maintained.

Officials said Russian troops had taken full control of the plant, although the plant’s workers remained in charge. Grossi said of the aftermath of the attack that only one reactor was operating at 60% capacity.

Grossi said two people were injured in the fire. Ukrainian state nuclear operator Enerhotom said three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two wounded.

In the United States, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the episode “underlines the recklessness with which the Russians are carrying out this unprovoked offensive.” During an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council, Ukraine’s Ambassador Sergei Kislitsya said the fire was caused by Russian artillery fire at the plant and accused Moscow of committing “an act of nuclear terrorism”.

Without offering evidence, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov claimed that a Ukrainian “sabotage group” had opened fire in Zaporizhzhya.

Before the crisis in Zaporizhzhya, Grossi expressed strong concerns earlier this week that the fighting could result in accidental damage to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors at four plants across the country.

Nuclear safety experts said the war between nuclear reactors represented an unprecedented and extremely dangerous situation.

“These plants are in a condition that few seriously imagined when they were built,” said Edwin Lyman of the Union of Concerned Scientists in Washington. “No nuclear plant is designed to withstand the potential threat of a large-scale military attack.”

Dr. Alex Rosen, of the International Physicists for the Prevention of Nuclear War, said the phenomenon may have been caused by military units underestimating the accuracy of their weapons, as prevailing winds could blow any radioactive fallout directly into Russia.

“Russia may have no interest in polluting its territory,” he said. The danger comes not from the reactors but from the risk of enemy fire falling on spent fuel rod storage facilities.

After the attack, Zelensky again appealed to the West to impose a no-fly zone on his country. However, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Friday ruled out the possibility, warning that such a move could lead to an all-out war in Europe. He explained that to enforce the no-fly zone, NATO would have to send fighter jets that would be forced to shoot down Russian planes.

In a scathing and emotional speech, Selensky denounced NATO’s reluctance, saying such a stance gives Russia a free hand to increase its air strikes.

In a late night speech, the president declared, “All those who die from this day will also be your responsibility because of your weakness and your lack of unity.” “The coalition has given a green signal to the bombing of Ukrainian cities and towns by refusing to create a no-fly zone.”

For its part, the Russian military failed to achieve a major breakthrough in its attack on Friday to cut off Ukraine’s access to the Black Sea and the Sea of ​​Azov, which, if carried out, would be a serious blow to its economy and may worsen the situation. Already yes terrible human condition.

There has also been no change in the north and east, where stubborn Ukrainian resistance has stalled the Russian offensive.

Russia and Ukraine reached a tentative agreement Thursday in a round of talks to establish security corridors through which civilians can be evacuated and food and medicine delivered, but essential details are yet to be worked out.

According to the Ukrainian government, more than 840 children have been injured and 28 have died during the war. The UN Human Rights Office said 331 civilians had been confirmed dead in the attack, although the true figure could be much higher.

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Karamanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine and Chernov reported from Mariupol, Ukraine. Associated Press journalist Sergei Grits in Odessa, Ukraine; Jamie Keaton in Geneva; Vanessa Gera in Warsaw; Frank Jordan in Berlin; Matt Sedensky in New York; Robert Burns in Washington and other AP journalists from around the world contributed to this report.

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