Fire breaks out at Europe’s biggest nuclear plant after Russian tank attack

A fire broke out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant following an attack from Putin’s tanks, in the battle for control of a crucial energy-producing city.

Ukraine’s foreign minister Dmytro Kuleba’s warned if the Zaporizhzhia plant “blows up” it would have been ten times bigger than the Chernobyl disaster.

He urged Russian troops to hold their fire “from all sides” so firefighters can set up a security zone. Firefighters trying to put out the blaze were reportedly being shot at.

However the fire was eventually extinguished this morning after raging for several hours. A statement said: “At 06:20 the fire at the Zaporizhzhia NPP training building in Enerhodar was extinguished.

The latest progress on the Russian attack, according to the MoD
The latest progress on the Russian attack, according to the MoD. Picture: Ministry of Defence

“There are no dead or injured”. Radiation levels are normal.

Several hours earlier Andriy Tuz, a spokesperson for the Zaporizhzhia plant, said in a video that one of the six reactors was on fire, but the reactor was not in use. “There is a real threat of nuclear danger in the biggest atomic energy station in Europe,” he said.

The plant in the Ukrainian city of Energodar accounts for about one-quarter of Ukraine’s power generation.

Plant spokesman Andriy Tuz told Ukrainian television that shells were falling directly on the Zaporizhzhia plant and had set fire to one of the facility’s six reactors.

Shells have fallen directly on the Zaporizhzhia plant, but the reactor on fire is under renovation and not operating, AP reported. There is nuclear fuel inside, however.

A Downing Street spokeswoman called the situation “gravely concerning” this morning.

“Both leaders agreed that Russia must immediately cease its attack on the power station and allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant,” she said.

“The Prime Minister said the reckless actions of President Putin could now directly threaten the safety of all of Europe. He said the UK would do everything it could to ensure the situation did not deteriorate further.

“The Prime Minister said he would be seeking an emergency UN Security Council meeting in the coming hours, and that the UK would raise this issue immediately with Russia and close partners.

“Both leaders agreed a ceasefire was crucial.”

A YouTube live stream of the power plant appeared to show missiles being fired before the plant burst into flames.

Later flashing lights of emergency vehicles were reportedly seen arriving to the scene, but their path was blocked by Russian armed forces.

The fighting at Enerhodar, a city on the Dnieper River, came as another round of talks between the two sides yielded a tentative agreement to set up safe corridors inside Ukraine to evacuate citizens and deliver humanitarian aid.

Elsewhere, Russian forces gained ground in their bid to cut off the country from the sea, as Ukrainian leaders called on citizens to rise up and wage guerrilla war against the invaders.

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