On Thursday, the Russian Ministry of Defense issued a warning that radioactive particles would cover Germany, Poland, and Slovakia in the event of an accident at the nuclear power plant it is occupying in southern Ukraine.
According to Reuters, Igor Kirillov, chief of Russia’s radioactive, chemical, and biological defense forces, claimed that shelling had damaged the plant’s backup support systems and warned that numerous European nations could be at risk in the event of an accident.
The warning was issued on Thursday as tensions over the future of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia facility, rose to the surface. On Thursday, U.N. secretary-general Antonio Guterres and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy were scheduled to meet to discuss the facility’s future.
According to the Russian Defense Ministry, if Ukrainian forces continued to bombard the site, they might shut down the nuclear reactor. Ukraine claims that Russia is putting the plant in danger by keeping weapons and military hardware there, despite the fact that it has denied shelling the plant.
The city of Zaporizhzhia, which is situated in southeast Ukraine on the Dnipro River, was the site on Wednesday of a nuclear catastrophe simulation by Ukraine’s Emergency Ministry. Both Ukraine and the international community have warned of the possibility of a catastrophic accident at the facility.
Zelenskyy stated Wednesday night that Ukrainian diplomats and nuclear experts are in “continuous touch” with the International Atomic Energy Agency and attempting to get a team of inspectors into the plant that Russian troops have been occupying since the beginning of the war.
The cat-and-mouse game surrounding the plant continued on Thursday when the Russian Ministry of Defense claimed on Telegram that Kyiv planned to stage a “provocation” at the power plant during Guterres’ visit, which would “put the Russian Federation on the hook for causing a man-made disaster at the power plant.”
However, they pointed out that radioactive material is also held at Zaporizhzhia in the spent fuel pools (or ponds), where wasted fuel is kept submerged to cool and allow radiation levels to drop before being relocated to a final store.
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