As Russia's offensive in Ukraine enters its ninth day, a fire at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant-after an attack by Moscow-rang alarm bells across the world capitals on Friday. The Russian forces, Kyiv said, attacked the nuclear power plant, which is near the power hub of Energodar, - that led to a huge fire. While the blaze led to a huge alarm worldwide, prompting US president Joe Biden and UK prime minister Boris Johnson to dial Volodymyr Zelenskyy, authorities confirmed that the fire was doused and there were no radiation leaks. Hours later, however, it was confirmed that the Russian forces had seized the plant. The attack comes as Moscow continues its full-scale invasion in Ukraine despite both sides concluding their second rounds of talks in Belarus to discuss military and humanitarian issues and a future political settlement of the ongoing conflict.
1. Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe and the ninth-largest in the world. The attack happened in the early hours of Friday. "Russian army has opened fire on Zaporizhzhia NPP. No state, except Russia, has ever opened fire at nuclear power units. For the first time in human history, a terrorist state has resorted to nuclear terror. Only immediate European action can stop Russian troops, "Zelenskyy said in a video address in a sharp message.
2. Ukraine foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba on Twitter warned: "Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. A fire has already broken out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! "The Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone! (sic)"
3. Mikhail Podolyak, the advisor to the Head of the Office of the President of Ukraine, uploaded a video of the attack on Twitter and said, "Zaporizhzhia NPP is under fire! The entire Europe is at risk of a repeat of the nuclear catastrophe. The Russians must stop the fire! "
4. Damage was reported in the compartment of reactor number- 1 of the plant. However, it did not affect the safety of the power unit. Essential equipment at the plant remained unaffected. Plant personnel were taking mitigatory actions, and there were no radiation leaks.
5. United States energy secretary Jennifer Granholm said that reactors at Zaporizhzhia "are protected by robust containment structures and reactors are being safely shut down."
6. On Saturday, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director-General Rafael M. Grossi is expected to hold a press conference on the attack at Zaporizhzhia. Earlier on Friday, Grossi held talks with Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal as well as the country's national nuclear regulator and operator about the serious situation.
7. The mayor of the nearby town of Energodar, about 550 km (342 miles) southeast of Kyiv, said fierce fighting and "continuous enemy shelling" had caused casualties in the area, without providing details. Energodar accounts for one-fifth of the country's power generation.
8. Russian foreign minister Sergei Lavrov on Thursday told the media: "It is clear that World War Three can only be nuclear." He had said, "I would like to point out that it is in the heads of Western politicians that the idea of a nuclear war is spinning constantly, and not in the heads of Russians."
9. Earlier this week, Russia's Vladimir Putin placed his country's nuclear deterrent forces on 'special' alert.
10. Europe's worst war in decades has entered its ninth day in Ukraine. A breakthrough is far from sight despite global pressure.