Russian troops attacked Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine, setting it on fire in the early hours of the morning.
In an emotional speech in the middle of the night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said it would be the “end for everyone, the end for Europe” if there was an explosion at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
He added: “Only urgent action by Europe can stop the Russian troops. Do not allow the death of Europe from a catastrophe at a nuclear power station.”
Reports claim firefights cannot get near the flames because they are “being shot at” by Russian troops.
Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba added the Russian army was “firing from all sides” upon the nuclear plant.
In a tweet earlier this morning, he warned if the nuclear plant blows up, “it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl” – the world’s worst nuclear disaster.
Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!
— Dmytro Kuleba (@DmytroKuleba) March 4, 2022
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was made aware of reports of shelling at the nuclear power plant, however, it was informed the fire has not affected essential equipment and plant personnel are taking mitigatory actions.
The IAEA has put its Incident and Emergency Centre “in full 24/7 response mode” due to the serious situation in Ukraine.
— IAEA – International Atomic Energy Agency (@iaeaorg) March 4, 2022
UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson spoke to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy about the “gravely concerning” situation in the early hours of the morning.
He said he will seek an emergency UN Security Council meeting and raise the issue immediately with Russia and close partners.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.”
I've just spoken to President @ZelenskyyUa about the gravely concerning situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.
— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 4, 2022
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, built between 1984 and 1995, is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and the ninth largest in the world.
It consists of six reactors with a total output of 5,700MW and generates almost a quarter of all electricity in Ukraine.