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Friday, June 9, 2023

Zelenskiy warns of nuclear plant crisis with Russian troop occupation

The president of Ukraine has stated that Russian troops are holding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant hostage, and its safety cannot be ensured until they leave. Meanwhile, Ukrainian forces have closed off the frontline town of Avdiivka as they plan their next steps.

Russian troops have occupied the largest nuclear power plant in Europe since the early stages of the invasion of Ukraine, and they show no signs of relinquishing control.

President Volodymyr Zelenskyy described the Russian presence as “radiation blackmail,” and met with Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), earlier in the day to discuss restoring safety and security.

Zelenskyy stated that initiatives to achieve this are “doomed to fail” without an immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the plant. The fighting around the plant and concerns over a water shortage and the potential loss of power to the cooling systems have raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

The IAEA has had a team stationed at the plant since September and has called for a safety zone around it, but brokering a deal has become increasingly difficult.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of shelling the plant, and Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions Russia claimed to annex in September, which Ukraine denies. Zelenskyy visited the region on Monday as part of his tour of frontline regions since a top general announced that Ukraine’s counterattack could come soon.

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