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Zelensky appeals with Russians to condemn attack on nuclear plant

FILE PHOTO: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy talks during an interview with Reuters after Russia's invasion of Ukraine, in Kyiv, Ukraine, March 1, 2022. REUTERS/Umit Bektas

On Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged Russians to condemn the takeover of Europe’s largest nuclear power facility by Russian military.

The news: According to Ukrainian authorities, a structure at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station was set ablaze during severe combat on Friday, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. The fire was eventually put out.

What Zelensky said: “Russian people, I want to appeal to you: how is this possible? After all we fought together in 1986 against the Chernobyl catastrophe,” he said in an address that was televised.

  • “You have to … take to the streets and say that you want to live, you want to live on earth without radioactive contamination. Radiation does not know where Russia is, radiation does not know where the borders of your country are.”
  • “You have to remember the burning graphite scattered by the explosion, the victims. You have to remember the glow over the destroyed power unit, the evacuation,” he said.
  • “How can you forget that? And if you have not forgotten, you should not be silent.”

What happened: The attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant site was blamed on Ukrainian saboteurs by Russia’s defence ministry, who called it a “monstrous provocation.”

  • The defunct Chernobyl plant north of Kyiv, which sprayed radioactive waste across much of Europe after an accident there in April 1986, has already been captured by Russian soldiers that invaded Ukraine last week.

Analysts say the plant in Zaporizhzhia is a distinct and safer variety, but Zelensky says now is not the time to remain silent.

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