UKRAINE/RUSSIA: Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky has accused Russia of “nuclear blackmail” at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been under Russian control for weeks now, as reported by the BBC.
Russia annexed the plant in March and it is alleged that the red forces have been using it as a military base from where it hits nearby towns. However, Ukrainian staff have been installed at the plant to execute the necessary operations.
A BBC investigation earlier this week revealed that many of the Ukrainian personnel are being held hostage at the site under armed guard amid harsh conditions.
Both countries have swapped blames for shelling near the plant, urging the UN to take note of potential fatal ramifications.
President Volodymyr Zelensky recently declared that any Russian soldier who shoots at or under the cover of the plant will be labelled a “special target” and subject to physical force.
The six-nuclear reactor Zaporizhzhia station is located in the city of Enerhodar, on the eastern bank of the Dnieper river (Dnipro in Ukrainian) in southern Ukraine.
The UN has been alerted by the intensity of shelling in the region, propagated by both forces and is compelled to step in and warn both countries that continued hostilities around the station could result in a widespread nuclear disaster, affecting much of Europe.
While Russia has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing and justified its control of the plant as an effort to prevent possible leaks of radioactive materials during fighting in the region, Zelensky has made his intentions of an offensive attack clear.
In a video address late on Saturday, Zelensky said that Russia has engaged in “constant provocations” by firing on the plant and claimed that the red forces stationed there use it as a military base to attack other surrounding regions of Nikopol and Marhanets- on the other bank of the river.
This was done, according to Zelensky, to “blackmail our state and the entire free world.” He added saying, “Every Russian soldier who either shoots at the plant or shoots under the cover of the plant, must understand he is becoming a special target for our intelligence, for our special services, for our army.”
Russia’s continued efforts to debilitate and demobilise Ukraine via the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant only mean trouble for the rest of the world, increasing the “radiation threat for Europe”.
Meanwhile, Ukrainian Presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak accused Russia of “hitting the part of the nuclear power plant where the energy that powers the south of Ukraine is generated”, Reuters reported.
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