Ukraine’s president has condemned the latest attack against the Zaporizhzhia power plant, joining a growing list of critics arguing the assault put the “European continent in danger”.
On Thursday, more than 80 Russian missiles and a smaller number of exploding drones hit residential buildings and critical infrastructure across Ukraine, killing six people and leaving hundreds of thousands without heat or electricity.
The attack also put Europe’s largest nuclear plant at risk by knocking it off the power grid for nearly half of the day before it was reconnected. Because nuclear reactors need constant power to run cooling systems to avoid a meltdown, the latest power loss raised the spectre of a nuclear catastrophe.
In his latest comments, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy argued that the attack put his country in “a critical situation.” And he called for his allies to implement sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry.
“Russia is deliberately creating a critical situation at our nuclear facilities,” he said. “This simply means, by definition, that Russia cannot be a bona fide participant in any relations in the nuclear sphere.
“The sooner the Russian nuclear industry is subjected to sanctions, the safer the world will be. A terrorist state cannot be allowed to use any nuclear facilities anywhere in the world for terror.”
The European Commission reportedly abandoned plans to include Moscow’s nuclear sector in their latest sanctions package last month.
Zelenskyy’s comments join others in the international community who have condemned the attack on the plant.
The European Union’s Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell called the attack a ‘serious breach’ of nuclear safety.
“Zaporizhzhia is the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe… And Russia is putting in danger the entirety of our joint European continent, Russia included,” he said.
The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, has previously warned that “we are playing with fire” when it came to the nuclear power plant.
And in a speech in Vienna on Thursday, he said: “Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.”
“If we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.”