The president slammed ‘countries that pretend to be neutral’ after warning that Russia could be planning an attack on Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.
Ukraine wants other countries to heed its warning that Russia may be planning an attack on an occupied nuclear power plant to cause a radiation disaster, President Volodymyr Zelensky said.
On Thursday, he said that Ukraine’s intelligence agencies had received information that Russia was considering a “terrorist” attack involving the release of radiation.
“Unfortunately, I had to be reminded more than once that radiation knows no national boundaries, and who it hits is determined only by the direction of the wind,” he said.
Members of his government have briefed international representatives on potential threats to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which will be controlled by Russia from March 2022 and operated by Ukrainian technicians.
In his nightly speech, Zelensky said he hoped other countries would “give appropriate signals and apply pressure” on Moscow.
“Our policy is simple: the world must know what the occupiers are preparing. Those who know must act,” Zelensky said. “The universe has enough energy to prevent any radiation event, let alone a radiation disaster.”
The potential for the release of lethal radiation has been a concern since Russian troops invaded Ukraine last year and seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The head of the UN Atomic Energy Agency spent months trying unsuccessfully to negotiate a security perimeter to protect the facility as nearby areas came under repeated shelling.
The Ukrainian leader’s late-night comments on Thursday carried a tone of frustration with “a country that still pretends to be neutral” in the war.
He accused “anyone who turns a blind eye to Russia’s occupation of such facilities” as enabling Moscow to commit acts of evil and terror.
“Of course, radiation does not ask who is neutral and can reach anyone in the world. Accordingly, anyone in the world can now help and it is quite clear what to do,” said Zelensky.
Russia has denied the allegations.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov dismissed the claim as “another lie”.
On Friday, Russia claimed it was “the target of an information and propaganda campaign to discredit the country in the international arena”.
Russia’s Federal Security Service, FSB, said five people were arrested for allegedly trying to smuggle a kilogram of the radioactive isotope cesium-137 out of the country on the orders of a Ukrainian national.
The FSB said the material would be used “to organize staged scenes of the use of weapons of mass destruction”. Cesium-137 is often mentioned as a possible use in making a “dirty bomb” that could contaminate a wide area.
The International Atomic Energy Agency noted Thursday that “the military situation has become increasingly tense” after a Ukrainian counteroffensive this month unfolded in Zaporizhia province, where the plant is located, and adjacent parts of Donetsk province.
On Friday, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi met with the director of the Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom to discuss the status of the plant.
At the meeting in the Kaliningrad exclave, Rosatom director Alexei Likachev and other officials “stressed that they now expect concrete steps” from the UN agency to prevent Ukrainian attacks on the Ukrainian plant and its adjacent territories, according to a statement from the Russian corporation, which created the divisions. and operate nuclear power plants.
Zaporizhia Governor Yuriy Malashko said on Friday that two people had been killed by Russian shelling in the southern province over the past day. Governor Oleksandr Prokudin said two more were killed in an attack on a transport company in Kherson, capital of Kherson province, on Friday.