Boris Johnson Says Putin’s Nuclear Plant Attack Could ‘Directly Threaten The Safety Of All Europe’
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Prime Minister Boris Johnson has said Vladimir Putin's attack on a Ukrainian nuclear power plant could 'directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.'
A fire burned for at least four hours after the facility was struck with shells, while emergency responders reportedly faced gunfire as they tried to extinguish the blaze.
Watch: Russian troops shell Europe’s largest nuclear power station in Enerhodar, Ukraine. The plant accounts for about one quarter of Ukraine’s power generation https://t.co/s1PcvYXAI9 pic.twitter.com/FKowRFJHDe— TIME (@TIME) March 4, 2022
The blaze has since been extinguished.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy spoke with Johnson in the early hours of this morning in the wake of the attack, after which the PM said he would seek an emergency United Nations Security Council meeting and 'raise this issue immediately with Russia and close partners.'
A Downing Street spokesperson described the situation at the nuclear power station as 'gravely concerning' and said both Zelenskyy and Johnson agreed Russia 'must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.'
They continued: 'The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe. He said the UK would do everything it could to ensure the situation did not deteriorate further.'
Both leaders also agreed a ceasefire was crucial.
I've just spoken to President @ZelenskyyUa about the gravely concerning situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) March 4, 2022
Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.
Johnson's comments echoed a statement made by Zelenskyy after the attack, in which he said that an explosion would be 'the end to all of us, the end of Europe, the evacuation of Europe.'
He added: 'Only immediate action of Europe can stop Russian troops and prevent the death of Europe from the disaster at a nuclear station.'
The attack at the power plant has also been criticised by Nato’s secretary general Jens Stontenberg, who said: 'We condemn the attacks on civilians and overnight we have also seen the reports about the attacks against a nuclear power plant.
'This just shows the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it. And the importance of Russia withdrawing all its troops and engaging in good faith in diplomatic efforts.'
NEW — @NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on the attack against #Zaporizhzhia #nuclear power plant in #Ukraine:— Dylan P. White (@dylanpwhite) March 4, 2022
“This just demonstrates the recklessness of this war and the importance of ending it, and the importance of Russia withdrawing all its troops”. pic.twitter.com/Jw9gtZbyNB
The US Energy Department activated its nuclear response team as a precaution following the strikes at the power plant, though the International Atomic Energy Agency has said that the fire has not affected essential equipment or caused radiation levels to change. Moves have also been made to safely shut down the reactors at the plant in the wake of the attack.
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