Russia has claimed a fire at a nuclear power plant they recently captured was nothing to do with them.
Russian troops are pushing further into Ukraine on the ninth day of their invasion, and they have reportedly captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
The power plant is the largest of its kind in Europe and provides about a fifth of Ukraine's electricity needs.
During fighting over the power plant a fire broke out in a training building outside the main complex, it was several hours before emergency services were allowed into the building to put out the blaze.
Nuclear experts say there is a 'frightening' risk that damage to a nuclear power plant could cause a situation similar to Fukushima in 2011 where a tsunami strike resulted in an eventual meltdown, MailOnline reports.
Russian authorities claim they are not responsible for the fire, saying their forces came under attack while patrolling the power plant from Ukrainian saboteurs who then started the fire in what they describe as a 'monstrous attack'.
However, regional authorities in Ukraine said the fire had started after shelling from the Russian military.
Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy accused the Russians of 'nuclear terrorism' after invading troops were accused of preventing the emergency services from getting to the fire for several hours.
He urged other European nations to 'wake up' and warned that Russian shelling of nuclear facilities risks another Chernobyl disaster.
#UPDATE Ukraine accused the Kremlin of "nuclear terror" on Friday after Europe's largest atomic power plant was attacked and taken over by invading forces, sparking Western horror at the threat of Russia's war contaminating all of Europe https://t.co/supWJEO4VF #Zaporizhzhia pic.twitter.com/n3FkCe2IAn— AFP News Agency (@AFP) March 4, 2022
Fortunately, the head of the UN's atomic watchdog has said there has been no release of radioactive material from any of the six reactors on site at Zaporizhzhia following the shelling and subsequent fire.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has offered to travel to Chernobyl in order to negotiate the safety of Ukraine's nuclear sites and said 'both sides are considering' the possibility of talks on the matter.
Professor Claire Corkhill, nuclear materials expert at Sheffield University, told BBC News it appeared as though the reactors at the power plant were being taken offline and placed in a safe state.
Foreign ministers from NATO nations are meeting in Brussels today, March 4, to discuss the Russian invasion of Ukraine and possible actions to take as Ukraine continued to request a no-fly zone be enforced over their airspace, Reuters reports.
If you would like to donate to the Red Cross Emergency Appeal, which will help provide food, medicines and basic medical supplies, shelter and water to those in Ukraine, click here for more information
- Ukraine: Europe's Largest Nuclear Power Plant Seized By Russian Military
- Ukraine Officials Share Footage From Inside Nuclear Power Plant The Moment It Was Attacked
- Ukraine: We Must 'Brace Ourselves' For What Russia Might Do Next, UK Defence Secretary Warns
- Russia Announces Temporary Ceasefire In Ukrainian Cities