Politics

Russia attacks Ukraine nuclear plant as invasion advances – The Denver Post

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By JIM HEINTZ, YURAS KARMANAU and MSTYSLAV CHERNOV

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russian forces shelled Europe’s largest nuclear plant early Friday, sparking a fireplace as they pressed their assault on an important energy-producing Ukrainian metropolis and gained floor of their bid to chop off the nation from the ocean.

The world’s main nuclear authorities had been involved — however not panicked — concerning the harm to the facility station, however the assault triggered a telephone name between U.S. President Joe Biden and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, and the U.S. Division of Power activated its nuclear incident response staff as a precaution.

The assault on the japanese metropolis of Enerhodar and its Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant unfolded because the invasion entered its second week and one other spherical of talks between the 2 sides yielded a tentative settlement to arrange secure corridors to evacuate residents and ship humanitarian help.

Nuclear plant spokesman Andriy Tuz informed Ukrainian tv that shells had been falling immediately on the power and had set hearth to one among its six reactors. That reactor is beneath renovation and never working, however there’s nuclear gasoline inside, he stated.

Firefighters can not get close to the flames as a result of they’re being shot at, he stated, and Ukrainian Overseas Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted a plea to the Russians to cease the assault and permit hearth groups inside.

“We demand that they cease the heavy weapons hearth,” Tuz stated in a video assertion. “There’s a actual risk of nuclear hazard within the largest atomic power station in Europe.”

The assault renewed fears that the invasion might harm one among Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors and set off one other emergency just like the 1986 Chernobyl accident, the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe, which occurred about 110 kilometers (65 miles) north of the capital.

U.S. Power Secretary Jennifer Granholm tweeted that the Zaporizhzhia plant’s reactors had been protected by strong containment constructions and had been being safely shut down.

In an emotional speech in the midst of the evening, Zelenskyy stated he feared an explosion that might be “the tip for everybody. The tip for Europe. The evacuation of Europe.”

“Solely pressing motion by Europe can cease the Russian troops,” he stated. “Don’t enable the loss of life of Europe from a disaster at a nuclear energy station.”

However most specialists noticed nothing to point an impending catastrophe.

The Worldwide Atomic Power Company stated the fireplace had not affected important gear and that Ukraine’s nuclear regulator reported no change in radiation ranges. The American Nuclear Society concurred, saying that the most recent radiation ranges remained inside pure background ranges.

“The actual risk to Ukrainian lives continues to be the violent invasion and bombing of their nation,” the group stated in a press release.

Jon Wolfsthal, who served throughout the Obama administration because the senior director for arms management and nonproliferation on the Nationwide Safety Council, stated the plant’s reactors have thick concrete containment domes that ought to shield them from tank and artillery hearth.

However he too was involved a couple of potential lack of energy on the plant, which might imperil its skill to maintain the nuclear gasoline cool.

The mayor of Enerhodar stated earlier that Ukrainian forces had been battling Russian troops on the town’s outskirts. Video confirmed flames and black smoke rising above the town of greater than 50,000, with individuals streaming previous wrecked vehicles, only a day after the U.N. atomic watchdog company expressed grave concern that the preventing might trigger unintentional harm to Ukraine’s 15 nuclear reactors.

Previous to the shelling, the Ukrainian state atomic power firm reported {that a} Russian army column was heading towards the nuclear plant. Loud pictures and rocket hearth had been heard late Thursday.

“Many younger males in athletic garments and armed with Kalashnikovs have come into the town. They’re breaking down doorways and making an attempt to get into the flats of native residents,” the assertion from Energoatom stated.

Later, a stay streamed safety digicam linked from the homepage of the Zaporizhzhia plant confirmed what seemed to be armored automobiles rolling into the power’s car parking zone and shining spotlights on the constructing the place the digicam was mounted.

Then there have been what seemed to be muzzle flashes from automobiles, adopted by practically simultaneous explosions in surrounding buildings. Smoke rose into the body and drifted away.

Vladimir Putin’s forces have introduced their superior firepower to bear over the previous few days, launching a whole lot of missiles and artillery assaults on cities and different websites across the nation and making vital beneficial properties within the south.

Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal referred to as on the West to shut the skies over the nation’s nuclear crops. “It’s a query of the safety of the entire world!” he stated in a press release.

The U.S. and NATO allies have dominated out making a no-fly zone for the reason that transfer would pit Russian and Western army forces towards one another.

Elsewhere, the Russians introduced the seize of the southern metropolis of Kherson, an important Black Sea port of 280,000, and native Ukrainian officers confirmed the takeover of the federal government headquarters there, making it the primary main metropolis to fall for the reason that invasion started per week in the past.

Heavy preventing continued on the outskirts of one other strategic port, Mariupol, on the Azov Sea. The battles have knocked out the town’s electrical energy, warmth and water programs, in addition to most telephone service, officers stated. Meals deliveries to the town had been additionally lower.

Related Press video from the port metropolis reveals the assault lighting up the darkening sky above largely abandoned streets and medical groups treating civilians, together with one inside a clinic who seemed to be a baby. Medical doctors had been unable to avoid wasting the individual.

Severing Ukraine’s entry to the Black and Azov seas would deal a crippling blow to its financial system and permit Russia to construct a land hall to Crimea, seized by Moscow in 2014.

Total, the outnumbered, outgunned Ukrainians have put up stiff resistance, staving off the swift victory that Russia appeared to have anticipated. However a senior U.S. protection official, talking on situation of anonymity, stated Russia’s seizure of Crimea gave it a logistical benefit in that a part of the nation, with shorter provide traces that smoothed the offensive there.

Ukrainian leaders referred to as on the individuals to defend their homeland by chopping down bushes, erecting barricades within the cities and attacking enemy columns from the rear. In current days, authorities have issued weapons to civilians and taught them the right way to make Molotov cocktails.

“Complete resistance. … That is our Ukrainian trump card, and that is what we will do greatest on the planet,” Oleksiy Arestovich, an aide to Zelenskyy, stated in a video message, recalling guerrilla actions in Nazi-occupied Ukraine throughout World Conflict II.

The second spherical of talks between Ukrainian and Russian delegations was held in neighboring Belarus. However the two sides appeared far aside going into the assembly, and Putin warned Ukraine that it should shortly settle for the Kremlin’s demand for its “demilitarization” and declare itself impartial, renouncing its bid to affix NATO.

Putin informed French President Emmanuel Macron he was decided to press on together with his assault “till the tip,” in accordance with Macron’s workplace.

The 2 sides stated that they tentatively agreed to permit cease-fires in areas designated secure corridors, and that they’d search to work out the mandatory particulars shortly. A Zelenskyy adviser additionally stated a 3rd spherical of talks shall be held early subsequent week.

Regardless of a profusion of proof of civilian casualties and destruction of property by the Russian army, Putin decried what he referred to as an “anti-Russian disinformation marketing campaign” and insisted that Moscow makes use of “solely precision weapons to completely destroy army infrastructure.”

Putin claimed that the Russian army had already provided secure corridors for civilians to flee, however he asserted with out proof that Ukrainian “neo-Nazis” had been stopping individuals from leaving and had been utilizing them as human shields.

He additionally hailed Russian troopers as heroes in a video name with members of Russia’s Safety Council, and ordered further funds to households of males killed or wounded.

The Pentagon arrange a direct communication hyperlink to Russia’s Ministry of Protection earlier this week to keep away from the opportunity of a miscalculation sparking battle between Moscow and Washington, in accordance with a U.S. protection official who spoke on situation of anonymity as a result of the hyperlink had not been introduced.

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Karmanau reported from Lviv, Ukraine; Chernov from Mariupol, Ukraine. Sergei Grits in Odesa, Ukraine; Francesca Ebel, Josef Federman and Andrew Drake in Kyiv; Jamey Keaten in Geneva; Lynn Berry, Robert Burns and Eric Tucker in Washington; Edith M. Lederer and Jennifer Peltz on the United Nations; and different AP journalists from all over the world contributed to this report.

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Comply with the AP’s protection of the Ukraine disaster at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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