KYIV: Europe’s largest nuclear power plant caught fire on Friday after Russia attacked Ukrainian facilities, and the country’s foreign minister called for an immediate ceasefire to avoid disaster.
Russia has stepped up strikes across the country, with fresh reports of civilian casualties and devastating damage, even as Moscow agreed to Ukraine’s demands for a humanitarian corridor to allow frightened residents to flee.
With no immediate clarity on how they would operate and no sign of any ceasefire, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged the West to step up military aid and “give me planes”.
On Friday morning, Europe s largest nuclear plant was on fire after Russian attack that hit the its power unit, the facility s spokesman said.
“As a result of shelling by Russian forces on the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant, a fire broke out,” spokesman Andrei Tuz said in a video posted on the plant s Telegram account.
The plant s power unit had been hit, he added, as Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba called for an immediate halt to fighting at the site.
“Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out,” he tweeted, warning of potential nuclear disaster if the plant blew up.
“Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!”
A live feed of the site earlier appeared to show blasts at the site, with fire lighting up the night sky and plumes of rising smoke.
Earlier, the International Atomic Energy Agency sounded the alarm after Russian troops entered the town of Enehodar near southern Ukraine.
In a statement, the agency said IAEA director Rafael Mariano Grossi urged “an immediate cessation of the use of force in Enejodar and called on the military forces operating there to refrain from the use of violence near the nuclear power plant”. .