The President of Ukraine, Volodymyr Zelenskyi, in an evening video message, said that the shutdown of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which happened today for the first time in history, proved that Russia put Ukraine and all Europeans one step away from a radiation disaster.
“Today, for the first time in history, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant stopped. The emergency protection of the power units worked – after the last working line of the station’s power return to the Ukrainian power system was damaged by Russian shelling. Diesel generators were immediately activated to provide energy to the station itself, to support it after the shutdown. The world must understand what a threat this is: if the diesel generators had not been turned on, if the automation and our station staff had not worked after the blackout, then we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of the radiation accident. Russia has put Ukraine and all Europeans in a situation one step away from a radiation disaster,” Zelenskyy said.
He assured that the authorities are doing everything to prevent an emergency scenario.
“But it depends not only on our state. The key is that such international pressure is needed that will force the occupiers to immediately withdraw from the territory of the Zaporizhzhya NPP. The IAEA and other international organizations must act much faster than now. Because every minute that the Russian military stays at the nuclear plant is a risk of a global radiation disaster,” the president said.
Zelenskyi said that he spoke today with US President Joe Biden about the situation at the ZNPP.
“Today I talked about it in detail with the President of the United States of America, Biden. I am grateful to him for his understanding and full support of the need to return the station under the proper control of Ukraine and immediately ensure IAEA access. This can be done in a matter of days, until the occupiers have brought the situation to an irreversible point. And it is easier to do it now than later, if the wind starts to spread radiation pollution across Europe,” Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
On August 25, the company “Energoatom” announced that the actions of Russian troops caused the complete disconnection of the Zaporizhzhya NPP from the power grid – this happened for the first time in the history of the plant.
Instead, the Russian side accused the Armed Forces of attacking power lines near the Zaporizhzhya NPP, after which the territory of the protection zone of the power lines caught fire.
Fires near the ZNPP were also recorded by a satellite. In the pictures available to “Scheme” (a Radio Liberty project), you can see ignition points in the forest near the NPP, as well as smoke over the ash pit of the Zaporizhzhya TPP, located next to the Zaporizhzhia NPP.
In recent weeks, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant has repeatedly come under fire, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Ukraine blames Russian forces for this and calls for an end to “nuclear terror”. The Russian side rejects the accusation and says that the shelling is allegedly carried out by the Ukrainian military. At the same time, Russia refused the proposal to create a demilitarized zone around the ZNPP.
Since March 4, the Zaporizhia NPP has been captured by Russian troops. Energodar, a satellite city of the ZNPP, is also under occupation.