Russian forces seize major nuclear plant in Ukraine

Russian forces have seized Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant the largest in Europe, Al Jazeera reports.

The network said the seizure occurred after intense fighting that caused a fire on the site.

Ukraine’s nuclear inspectorate said, shortly after the fire was extinguished, that “armed forces of the Russian Federation have occupied the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.”

The nuclear inspectorate added that “operational personnel are monitoring the condition of power units,” and “efforts sought to ensure the operations were in line with safety requirements.”

Reuters news agency quoted Ukrainian emergency services as saying only one of six nuclear power units was working as of early Friday.

Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy angrily denounced the attack, in a video message saying: “No country other than Russia has ever fired on nuclear power units.”

“This is the first time in our history. In the history of mankind. The terrorist state now resorted to nuclear terror,” he added, calling for global help.

On Thursday, the Russian military said it had seized Kherson, the first major city to fall since the invasion began nine days ago.

The shipbuilding city of 290,000 people allegedly fell after a three-day siege that left it short of food and medicine.

From Kherson, Russian troops appeared to be directed towards Mykolaiv, another key Black Sea port and shipbuilding centre to the west, according to Al Jazeera. “The regional governor, Vitaliy Kim, said big convoys of Russian troops were advancing on the city.”

The vote saw 141 countries in favour, five against and 35 abstaining.

By Friday noon, the conflict had caused scores of deaths and injuries to thousands of people. Also, about one million refugees have fled Ukraine while Russia’s economy has been rocked by international sanctions.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a “special military operation” that is not designed to occupy territory but to topple the democratically elected government, destroy its neighbour’s militar capabilities capture what it regards as dangerous nationalists. Moscow denies targeting civilians. (Aljazeera reports)