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Russia warns nuclear plant could spill radiation over three countries

Russia warns nuclear plant could spill radiation over three countries

Russia has warned that an accident near the occupied nuclear plant could see radiation spread across three European countries.

Russia's Ministry of Defence has warned that several European countries could be affected by a disastrous radiation spill if fighting and shelling near a Ukrainian nuclear power plant continues.

As Russia's deadly war on Ukraine rages on, officials are keeping a close eye on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant - which is arguably the last thing you'd want to see situated between two warring countries.

According to Igor Kirillov, the head of Russia's radioactive, chemical and biological defence forces, the plant's backup support systems have already been damaged by shelling.

If there were a disaster at the plant, Russia has warned that radioactive material could spread over Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

The nuclear plant, which is situated in southern Ukraine, was captured by Russia in the early stages of the war, but is still operated by Ukrainian engineers.

REUTERS / Alamy Stock Photo

Both countries are blaming the other for shelling and damaging the plant.

While Ukraine has blamed Russian forces for endangering the nuclear plant, Russia has threatened to shut down the facility entirely if Ukraine don't stop shelling it.

Tensions around the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe first arose when the UN’s Secretary-General Antonio Guterres agreed to meet Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Thursday (18 August).

The leaders planned to discuss moves to resolve grain exports, deescalate the war, and iron out the power plant situation.

Meanwhile, Ukraine has accused Russia of using the occupied power plant as both storage for ammunition and military equipment and as a base to attack from.

More than any country, Ukraine will be aware of the consequences of a nuclear disaster, still recovering from the effects of the 1986 Chernobyl disaster.

Former Ukrainian president Petro Poroshenko warned just last week that the effects of a nuclear disaster in Zaporizhzhia's nuclear power station 'would be ten times more powerful than Chernobyl'.

The major power plant was producing 20 percent of Ukraines energy, and 50 percent of their energy from nuclear sources.

In preparation for the worst case scenario, Ukrainian authorities are now running nuclear catastrophe exercises in the city of Zaporizhzhia.

President Zelenskyy confirmed this week that officials are working to get a team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) out to inspect the power plant for damages or potential threats, but this might prove difficult unless Russia agrees to demilitarise the facility.

Commenting on reports of shelling near the facility, Rafael Grossi, Director General of the IAEA stated: "I'm extremely concerned by the shelling at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond."

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 

Featured Image Credit: REUTERS / Rokas Tenys / Alamy

Topics: News, Ukraine, Russia