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Russian forces have reportedly threatened to blow up Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The head of Russia’s radiation, chemical, and biological forces, Major-General Valeriy Vasilyev shared in a since-deleted statement that Russian arms have planted explosive mines inside the Zaporizhzhia facility in Ukraine and began attacking, according to Energoatom.
He reportedly said: “Here will be either Russian land or a desert. The nuclear power plant will be either Russian or no one’s.”
Vasilyev added: “As you know, we have planted mines in all the important facilities of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. And we do not hide this from the enemy. We warned them.
“The enemy knows that the plant will be either Russian – or no one’s. We are ready for the consequences of this step. And you, warriors-liberators should understand that there is no other option. And in case of receiving the most severe order, we must fulfill it with honor!”
ABC News reports that renewed shelling at the Ukrainian power plant caused damage to three radiation sensors and injured a worker.
Head of Enerhoatom, a Ukrainian state enterprise which controls the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Petro Kotin, told BBC News that despite the plant being occupied by Russian arms since March, staff continue to operate there.
He claims that more than 500 Russian soldiers are based at the plant.
Some have even captured, tortured and beaten staff members.
International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Mariano Grossi called the situation ‘catastrophic’, raising fears of a full-scale nuclear disaster.
In a statement, he wrote: “I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday 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.”
He added: “I strongly and urgently appeal to all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility, with its six reactors.
“And I condemn any violent acts carried out at or near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant or against its staff.”
Republicworld.com reports that President Zelenskyy said in a night address following the attacks: "There is no such nation in the world that could feel safe when a terrorist state fires at a nuclear plant.”
He continued: “Russian terrorists became the first in the world to use a nuclear plant for terror. The biggest in Europe!”
He also ordered world leaders to increase sanctions against Russia to isolate them further.
Zelenskyy said: “The general tendency to strengthen sanctions remains unchanged and will continue increasing the price for this terror, terror against our people, for the terrorist state.”