KIEV, Ukraine (CNN) – Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky condemned Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in a Facebook message earlier on Friday, and warned of the dangers associated with attacks on nuclear facilities.
“Europe needs to wake up now. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is on fire now. Russian tanks are shooting at the atomic blocks equipped with thermal imagers. They know what they are shooting at. They’ve been preparing for this [attack],” he said in the post.
Zelensky referred to the Chernobyl tragedy and its victims saying, “Russia wants to repeat that event, but a scale six times greater.”
Zelensky added, “Our guys are keeping the atomic power station secure, safe from any provocations so that no one can enter the station, so they can’t capture the station.” Zaporizhzhia NPP spokesman Andrii Tuz told CNN, that Ukrainian forces are still in control of the plant and according to Ukraine’s State Emergency Services, as of 5:20 am local time (10:20pET) 40 firefighters were tackling the blaze.
Zelensky said he contacted leaders including European Council President Charles Michel, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Polish president Andrzej Duda, US president Joe Biden, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, and IAEA head Mariano Grossi.
“No country besides Russia has ever fired upon an atomic power plant’s reactors… Russian propagandists were threatening everyone with this, let us remind you, to cover the whole world in atomic ash. This is no longer an idle threat – this is reality.”
Zelensky added, “We don’t know how it is going to end with the fire at the power station, if there might be an explosion, God forbid.”
He called on the world to stop Russian forces “before this becomes a nuclear disaster.”
“There are 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine.” Zelensky said. “If one of them blows, that’s the end for everyone, that’s the end of Europe. All of Europe will have to evacuate. Immediate action must be taken to stop the Russian army. Don’t allow the death of Europe. Stop this potential atomic catastrophe!”
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