ukraine: Russian troops take over Europe’s biggest nuclear plant in Ukraine

NEW DELHI: Russian troops seized the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe on Friday after a middle-of-the-night attack that set it on fire and briefly raised worldwide fears of a catastrophe in the most chilling turn in Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine yet.
Firefighters put out the blaze, and no radiation was released, UN and Ukrainian officials said, even as Russian forces pressed on with their week-old offensive on multiple fronts, launching hundreds of missiles and artillery attacks on cities and other sites in an apparent bid to cut off Ukraine’s access to the sea.

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In the attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in the southeastern city of Enerhodar, a Russian “projectile” hit a training centre, not any of its six reactors, the chief of the UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said. Authorities said Russian troops had taken control of the overall site but that the plant staff continued to run it. Only one reactor was operating, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi said. Ukraine’s state nuclear plant operator Enerhoatom said three Ukrainian soldiers were killed and two wounded.
The UN Security Council scheduled an emergency meeting on Friday on the nuclear plant attack.
The US called it a reckless assault that risked catastrophe even as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky asked Europe to wake up, warning that Russian propaganda to “cover the world in nuclear ash” is coming true. Faced with worldwide opprobrium, Russia sought to deflect blame, saying a Ukrainian “sabotage group” had set fire to the building at Zaporozhizhia.

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