Lviv (Ukraine), 9 Aug. The Zaporiyia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP), in southern Ukraine and currently controlled by Russian troops, contains some 1,200 tons of radioactive fuel, the handling of which could cause a disaster affecting Ukrainians and neighboring Russia.
The plant, the largest in Europe, "which the Russian invaders are now threatening to blow up, contains 1,200 tons of nuclear fuel. If Russia decides to commit a terrorist attack, the nuclear disaster will affect the territories of Russia and Ukraine, the head of the Zaporiyia Regional Military Administration, Oleksandr Starukh, assured on his Telegram account.
"If a nuclear incident occurs, not only southern Ukraine, but also (the Russian-occupied) Crimea (peninsula) and Russia will be affected. One nuclear bomb contains nine kilograms of uranium or plutonium, and our plant has 1,200 tons. The contamination can be quite high, but... it is Russian roulette," Starukh said, according to Ukrinform agency.
In his words, the situation at the nuclear power plant has been "dangerous and tense since March 2022, when Russian invaders first opened fire on power unit 3. But now Russia's representatives have directly announced that they are ready to subject Ukraine and the whole of Europe to nuclear risk."
And "such escalations are inevitable, as Russia violates not only the rules of war and international treaties that do not allow any hostility involving heavy weapons within the territory of a nuclear power plant, but simply breaks the logic of human existence," the Ukrainian official denounced.
According to Starukh, the nuclear power plant is a fortified facility, but it is not protected against such terrorist attacks. In addition, spent nuclear fuel remains in the plant, which can also pose a threat.
The nuclear power plant has been a serious flashpoint since it was occupied by Russian troops after suffering several attacks for which Russia and Ukraine accuse each other.
"One cannot ignore the obvious, the situation becomes more dangerous with each passing day," acknowledged Russian foreign spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
Zakharova assured that the Russian side sends daily updates on the status of the facility - under the control of Russian troops practically since the beginning of the military campaign - to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
For his part, last Saturday the IAEA Director General, the Argentine Rafael Grossi, was very concerned about Friday's bombing of Europe's largest atomic plant and warned that "fire is being played with" and that there is a risk of a "nuclear disaster".