Ukraine war

Russian soldiers in Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant warned by Zelensky

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia plant [File: Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters]

The Ukrainian president has warned that security agencies will target any Russian soldiers who fire on the besieged Zaporizhia nuclear plant.

In his Saturday evening address, Volodymyr Zelensky stated that any soldier fired on or from the facility would become "a special target" for Ukraine.

In addition, he accused Moscow of transforming the plant into an army camp and using it as "nuclear blackmail."

In March, Russia took the complex following intense fighting.

It is the largest nuclear power station in Europe and is located in the strategically significant city of Nikopol in southern Ukraine. Even though the Russians occupy the site, Ukrainian experts continue to run it.

This infrastructure came under artillery bombardment earlier this week, which Moscow and Kyiv blamed on each other.

During his statement from Kiev, Mr. Zelensky stated that Russia had participated in "constant provocations" by firing on the plant and that forces stationed there had used it as a base to shell Nikopol and Marganets.

"Every Russian military officer who either shoots at the plant or shoots under the cover of the plant, must understand that he becomes a special target for our intelligence, our special services, our army," the president warned.

Additionally, he stated that "every day" that Russia occupies the nuclear power plant "increases the radiation threat to Europe."

To undermine Kyiv, Ukraine's defense intelligence service also accused Russia of staging a provocation by putting a Pion self-propelled howitzer outside a nearby town and painting a Ukrainian flag on it.

Earlier this week, a BBC investigation showed that many Ukrainian workers at the site were kept under armed guard in inhumane conditions.

Foreign ministers from the G7 industrial democracies demanded Russia's immediate withdrawal from the site on Thursday.

Their warning matched that of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, which demanded an end to "all military activities that endanger nuclear security."

Secretary General of the United Nations António Guterres cautioned that the situation at the plant might "lead to disaster."

However, Russia has consistently denied any wrongdoing at the factory, and Vladimir Rogov, a local official, appointed by Moscow, said on Telegram that Ukrainian forces were attacking the plant.

The foreign ministry of Moscow has stated that it seized control of the plant to prevent radioactive materials from leaking during fighting in the region.

Officials from the ministry at the United Nations have requested an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council to review the situation at the power facility. The meeting will be conducted in New York on Thursday.

Publish : 2022-08-14 07:53:00

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