Outrage as Russia attacks Europe’s largest power plant in Ukraine



Ukraine accused the Kremlin of “nuclear terror” on Friday after Europe’s largest atomic power plant was attacked and taken over by invading forces, sparking Western horror at the threat of Russia’s war contaminating all of Europe.

Blasts lit up the night sky as the plant at Zaporizhzhia came under shell fire, while Russian forces advanced in southern Ukraine and continued their sometimes indiscriminate bombardment of several cities elsewhere.

Ukrainian firefighters said they were prevented from accessing the site initially before the attack was paused and they were able to douse a blaze at a training facility on the site.

The six reactors at Zaporizhzhia, which can power enough energy for four million homes, were apparently undamaged and international monitors reported no spike in radiation.

But the attack was slammed in Washington, London and other Western capitals as utterly irresponsible.

“We survived a night that could have stopped the story, the history of Ukraine, the history of Europe,” Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky said.

An explosion at Zaporizhzhia would have equalled “six Chernobyls”, he said, referring to the plant in Ukraine that was the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.

“Russian tank commanders knew what they were firing at,” Zelensky alleged, adding: “The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror.”

After phoning Zelensky during the night, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson demanded an urgent meeting of the UN Security Council.

He accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of “reckless actions” that “could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”, and pressed anew for a ceasefire.

Putin, however, has been unrepentant about an offensive that has cast Russia into the economic, sporting and cultural equivalent of exile to Siberia.

He said Thursday that the invasion was going “strictly according to schedule, according to plan” in its aims of driving out the “neo-Nazis” in Kyiv led by Zelensky — who is Jewish.

Addressing security chiefs in televised comments, Putin added that he would never abandon his conviction “that Russians and Ukrainians are one people”.

French President Emmanuel Macron, after speaking to Putin on Thursday, believes “the worst is to come”, an aide said.

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