Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged world leaders to stand up to ‘nuclear terror’ after Russian forces took control of a huge power facility this morning.
Fierce fighting broke out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is based in the Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, during the early hours of Friday morning.
The nuclear plant is the largest of its kind in Europe and provides more than a fifth of the total electricity generated in Ukraine.
Fears grew when a fire broke out at the plant, with officials warning that an explosion could have lead to a catastrophe “10 times worse than Chernobyl”.
Ukrainian authorities confirmed that the fire was extinguished at around 9.30am local time this morning.
President Zelensky warned that the attack on the nuclear plant “threatened to cover the world with nuclear ashes” in an emotional address made shortly after news of the fire.
He said: “For the first time in our history, the history of mankind, the terrorist state has resorted to nuclear terror.
“Russian protagonists have threatened to cover the world with nuclear ashes, not it is not a threat, now it is a reality. We must stop the Russian military immediately.
“If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything, the end of Europe. It is the evacuation of Europe. Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops. Prevent the death of Europe from the nuclear disaster.”
The Ukrainian president also held talks with Boris Johnson as concerns grew during the Russian attack on the plant.
“I’ve just spoken to President Zelensky about the seriously concerning situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station”, the Prime Minister tweeted at 3am UK time.
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“Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.”
Mr Johnson has also called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council in the “coming hours” to raise the issue of Russia’s attack on the nuclear power plant, according to a statement from his office.
Yesterday, Russia announced that it had captured the southern city of Kherson, making it the first major city to fall since the invasion began last week.
Heavy fighting and explosions have continued across Ukraine, with locals taking refuge in makeshift bomb shelters throughout the country.
It has been estimated that around one million people have fled Ukraine since the invasion started, according to the latest United Nations figures.
Yesterday, Nicola Sturgeon sought advice on the “maximum possible action” the Scottish Government can take against people linked to Russia with connections to Scotland.
The First Minister told MSPs at Holyrood: “I have sought urgent advice on the maximum possible action that the Scottish Government can take within our powers against individuals and entities identifying as having close links with the Russian regime, whether or not they are currently on the UK sanctions list.
“Options that will be examined include, but are not limited to, ending the support from the public purse or freezing or seizing assets in Scotland, where that is possible.”
She also pledged: “The Scottish Government and our economic agencies will not support trade and investment activity with Russia.”
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