Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said “global control” over Russia’s nuclear facilities and nuclear technology was needed to prevent another Chernobyl-like disaster.
Zelenskyy’s comments, made during a video address, came after Ukraine’s state-run atomic energy company said Russian missiles flew at low altitude over Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
Also, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Tuesday that Russian troops risked causing an accident with their “very, very dangerous” seizure of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in Ukraine in February.
“I believe that after all that the Russian military has done in the Chernobyl zone and at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, no one in the world can feel safe knowing how many nuclear facilities, nuclear weapons and related technologies the Russian state has,” Zelenskyy said, Ukrinform reported.
“If Russia has forgotten what Chernobyl is, it means that global control over Russia’s nuclear facilities and nuclear technology is needed.”
An April 26, 1986, explosion and fire at Chernobyl sent radioactive material into the atmosphere in what has been considered the worst nuclear disaster in history both in cost and casualties. Billions of dollars were spent by Russia and the international community to stabilize and secure the area.
“Every year on April 26th, the world remembers the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear disaster in human history,” Zelenskyy said. “But this year it is not enough just to remember Chernobyl … because this year, Russia created new threats that could surpass even the worst accident.”
Zelenskyy also recalled March 4, when a fire broke out at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant after Russian forces started shelling the plant amid invasion.
“They knew exactly which object they were firing at,” the president said. “But they had an order to seize the object at any cost. They did not care about anything. They did not care that the Zaporizhzhia station was the largest in Europe. They didn’t think about how many power units there are and how the shelling could end.”
During a press conference with United Nations atomic watchdog chief Rafael Grossi, Zelenskyy said the world was “once again on the brink of disaster.”
“[The Russians treated Chernobyl] like a normal battleground, territory where they didn’t even try to care about nuclear safety,” Zelenskyy said, the Deccan Herald reported.
“No country in the world since 1986 has posed such a large-scale threat to nuclear security in Europe and the world than Russia has since Feb. 24.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin began his country’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24.