RUSSIA: The world’s largest nuclear power facility is on fire, according to a plant spokeswoman, following an attack by Russian troops entering Ukraine.
“A fire broke out at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant as a result of Russian military shelling,” spokesman Andrei Tuz stated in a video broadcast on the plant’s Telegram account.
Dmytro Kuleba, Ukraine’s foreign minister, called on Russian soldiers to halt bombing Europe’s largest nuclear power facility after a fire broke out on Friday. “If it explodes, it will be ten times the size of Chernobyl!”
“Russians must STOP FIRE IMMEDIATELY,” Kuleba wrote on Twitter.
Meanwhile, the EU on Thursday agreed to approve temporary protection for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine — so far numbered one million — while also setting up a humanitarian hub in Romania.
The European Union’s actions were in tandem with its sanctions against Russia, which were implemented in waves over the length of the invasion, which is currently on its eighth day.
In Washington, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a similar action, providing Ukrainians already in the nation temporary protected status. This implies they can stay in the United States and the prospect of deportation is no longer present.
In a conference in Brussels, EU interior ministers agreed to activate a temporary protection mechanism that was created two decades ago in response to the hostilities in the former Yugoslavia but was never deployed.
Ylva Johansson, the European Commissioner for Home Affairs, who was present at the meeting, tweeted that it was a “historic decision.”
“The European Union will provide temporary protection to all individuals escaping the war in Ukraine,” French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin stated.
Both later stated at a press conference that the decision was reached unanimously by ministers representing the EU’s 27 member states.
Ukrainians and their family members traveling into the EU, as well as anyone who had previously been granted refugee status in Ukraine, will be covered by the interim protection, according to Darmanin.
“They are not covered by Temporary Protection Orders, but they are being helped out of Ukraine,” Johansson said of the many foreigners, including students, who were in Ukraine when the Russian attack began.
“The significance of this moment for Europe cannot be overstated,” Oxfam said in a statement following the EU’s vote, describing it as “a turning point for Europe.”
The EU protection system, it added, “provides a direct lifeline to those fleeing danger in Ukraine,” and that now “all EU member states must chip in and take responsibility.“
After reaching a political agreement, it was expected to go into effect within days, once EU legislation was finalized.
The protection allows Ukrainian refugees and their families to get a residence permit as well as the right to work and study for a period of one year, renewable every six months for a total of two years.
Ukrainians with biometric data on their passports currently have the right to visit the EU’s Schengen area for up to three months without permission to work, implying that they can already enter the EU.
As she came for the meeting, German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser described the adoption of blanket protection for Ukraine migrants as a “paradigm shift” for the EU, which has long fought to alter its asylum regulations.
According to a press conference held by Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s cabinet chairman Gergely Gulyas, Hungary’s government — which has the closest relations to Moscow of any EU country — had expressed opposition to the universal EU protection measure.
However, according to Darmanin and Johansson, that resistance was lifted, and it was backed by all 27 EU countries.
On Thursday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the EU was also establishing a “humanitarian centre” in Romania, one of four EU countries bordering Ukraine.
“Protecting those fleeing (Russian President Vladimir) Putin’s bombs is more than a humanitarian deed in a time of conflict. As Europeans, we have a moral obligation to do so,” she added.
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