Russian troops seized control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant early today after a building at the site caught fire during heavy fighting with Ukrainian forces. The incident, at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, raised alarm from global leaders of a potential massive disaster before Ukraine’s state emergency service announced the blaze had been put out. “The territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is occupied by the armed forces of the Russian Federation,” the Ukrainian nuclear inspectorate said. The statement added that plant staff were continuing to operate the reactor and supply power according to normal safety protocol. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Europe to “wake up” as he reminded continental leaders of the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster, considered the worst of its kind both in cost and casualties. The director general of the International Nuclear Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, confirmed no reactor of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant “was involved or hit”.
Western leaders condemn attack
Shortly after the fire broke out, President Biden urged Russia to “cease its military activities in the area and allow firefighters and emergency responders to access the site”. The office of British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting, saying “the reckless actions of (Russian President Vladimir) Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”. The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing was “seriously concerned about the safety and security” of nuclear facilities in Ukraine and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he also spoke with Zelensky about the onslaught. “These unacceptable attacks by Russia must cease immediately,” he said on Twitter.
Russian troops enter Mykolayiv
Russian troops have entered the Ukrainian port city of Mykolayiv. Regional authorities told the Telegraph online, this was the first time that the port, which lies on the Black Sea halfway between Kherson and Odessa, fell into Russian hands.
‘Do not exacerbate the situation with other sanctions’ – Putin
Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned those who oppose Russia’s actions in Ukraine not to “exacerbate the situation” by imposing further sanctions on his country. “We have no bad intentions against our neighbours,” he said during a meeting of his government broadcast on state-controlled Rossiya 24. The government “does not see the need” for neighbouring countries to take further action that “worsens our relations”.
Next few days will get even worse – NATO
“This is the worst military aggression in decades, with cities, schools, hospitals, residential buildings bombed and attacks on nuclear power plants,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Addressing a conference after the extraordinary summit of NATO foreign ministers, Stoltenberg said “the days to come will probably be worse, with more deaths and more destruction”. Stoltenberg said, “NATO is not a party to the conflict, but will protect its Allies and is committed to defending the East flank with more strength” of the Alliance. He said the summit will serve “to coordinate a response to the brutal invasion of Ukraine and the long-term implications” of the conflict.
Kharkiv: ‘2,000 dead, over 100 children’
The president of the Kharkiv regional council, Serhiy Chernov, has told the summit of the regions underway in Marseille that yesterday they counted more than 2,000 dead people, including more than 100 children. In a video link, he said, “We can calculate deaths and injuries by the hundreds every hour. The village of Iakevo in the Kharkiv area was destroyed: there are many deaths in this area”. He said he was organising the work of the coordination centre to take care of all the refugees in the Kharkiv area, organising the deliveries of food and medicines.
Italian radicals want to try Putin in The Hague
The Italian Radical Party has said it wants to see “the dictator Putin before the International Criminal Court as it was for the Nazi hierarchs and for Milosevic”. Massimiliano Iervolino, Giulia Crivellini and Igor Boni, secretary, treasurer and president of the Italian Radicals have launched a petition for signatures. In an appeal posted online, they said, “We ask for an indictment of the President Putin for crimes against humanity, war crimes and crimes of aggression.” The International Criminal Court has officially launched an investigation to verify whether Russia has committed war crimes in Ukraine after 39 states, including Italy, have already signed activating the procedure.
F1: Russian GP contract terminated
After the cancellation of the 2022 Grand Prix, the body that organises and manages the Formula 1 world championship has announced that it has definitively terminated the contract with the organisers of the Russian GP. A statement said this means that Russia will have no races in the future”.