Russia shells Europe's largest nuclear plant in Ukraine, starting fire

Shells were falling directly on the Zaporizhzhia plant and had set fire to one of the facility's six reactors

Fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant
Fire at Europe's largest nuclear power plant

NH Web Desk

Russian troops are shelling Europe's largest nuclear power station in Ukraine.

We demand that they stop the heavy weapons fire, Andriy Tuz, spokesperson for the plant in Enerhodar, said in a video posted on Telegram. There is a real threat of nuclear danger in the biggest atomic energy station in Europe.

The plant accounts for about one quarter of Ukraine's power generation.

Tuz told Ukrainian television that shells were falling directly on the Zaporizhzhia plant and had set fire to one of the facility's six reactors. That reactor is under renovation and not operating, but there is nuclear fuel inside, he said.

Firefighters cannot get near the fire because they are being shot at, Tuz said.

A live-streamed security camera linked from the homepage of the nuclear power plant showed what appeared to be armoured vehicles rolling into the facility's parking lot and shining spotlights on the building where the camera was mounted.

There are then what appear to be bright muzzle flashes from vehicles and then nearly simultaneous explosions in the surrounding buildings. Smoke then rises and drifts across the frame.

Meanwhile, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Friday urged European leaders to "wake up" as the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in the continent, is on fire, while also appealing for "immediate action" against Russia.

In a video posted on Twitter, the President said that "the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe is on fire right now" and accused Russian troops of deliberately shooting at the plant's six reactors using tanks equipped with thermal imaging, reports the BBC.

Invoking the "global catastrophe" at Chernobyl in 1986, he warned the consequences of a meltdown at Zaporizhzhia would be far worse.

"Europeans, wake up please. Tell your politicians that Russian forces are shooting at the nuclear plant in Ukraine," he said.

Seoul: South Korea says it won an exemption from recently expanded US sanctions against Russia in exchange for strengthening its own export restrictions against the country over an escalating invasion of Ukraine.

South Korea's Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy confirmed the agreement on Friday after Trade Minister Yeo Han-koo travelled to Washington this week for meetings with senior US officials.

The Biden administration last week announced a series of sanctions aimed at cutting off Russia's access to foreign technology products like semiconductors, lasers, aircraft and communications equipment in response to its invasion of Ukraine.

To enforce the measures, Washington has imposed a regulation called the foreign direct product rule, which allows American officials to restrict the sales of foreign-made products to Russia from any country if the items are produced with US technology.

The South Koreans had sought an exemption from the regulation to minimize the impact of US sanctions on major South Korean companies, whose technology exports drive the country's trade-dependent economy.

South Korea had already banned the export of strategic materials to Russia and joined international efforts to cut off key Russian banks from global payment systems.

US officials also told their South Korean counterparts that consumer goods such as smartphones, passenger cars and washing machines aren't subject to American sanctions as long as they are used by private Russian citizens or companies and not military users.

Washington: The Department of Homeland Security will grant temporary legal status to Ukrainians living in the US.

Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said Thursday that Temporary Protected Status would be extended for 18 months.

Russia's premeditated and unprovoked attack on Ukraine has resulted in an ongoing war, senseless violence, and Ukrainians forced to seek refuge in other countries, Mayorkas said in a statement.

Temporary Protected Status is given to citizens of countries devastated by war or natural disasters.

It comes as pressure was mounting on the Biden administration from members of Congress, including the Senate's top Democrat, to grant the status to Ukrainians following Russia's invasion of their country.

In order to be eligible for the protection, individuals would have to have been in the US since at least Tuesday.

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Published: 04 Mar 2022, 9:00 AM