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Zelensky accuses Russia of nuclear blackmail at power plant

·1 min read

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is accusing Russia of “blackmail” after recent shelling near Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

“The occupiers are trying to intimidate people in an extremely cynical way, using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Zelensky said in an address to Ukrainians on Saturday, saying Russia hides behind the plant to attack nearby cities.

“They arrange constant provocations with shelling of the territory of the nuclear power plant and try to bring their additional forces in this direction to blackmail our state and the entire free world even more.”

Russia captured the area where the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is located early in the war, and the two countries have blamed each other for recent strikes.

Zelensky has called the shelling “Russian nuclear terror” and pushed the international community to place sanctions on Russia’s nuclear industry and fuel exports.

The Ukrainian president’s message comes as Ukraine attempts to counter Russia’s continued attacks on the country. Russia reportedly struck Ukraine’s eastern headquarters in Kramatorsk overnight as Ukraine pushed back on Russian occupation in the south.

The recent attacks near Zaporizhzhia have heightened international concern over the risk of a nuclear accident. The United Nations secretary-general last week called the violence “suicidal.”

Russia’s occupation and attack, Zelensky said Saturday, “increases the radiation threat to Europe so much that even at the peak moments of the confrontation during the Cold War, this did not happen.”

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