Zelenskyy warns of Russian nuclear risks on Chernobyl anniversary

Zelenskyy warns of Russian nuclear risks on Chernobyl anniversary

On the 38th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant disaster on Friday, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy warned of the risks surrounding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility, which has been at the centre of nuclear safety crisis since Russia's invastion of Ukraine.

Even under the shadow of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Zelenskyy said Russian forces were not taking the safety of the plant seriously.

Russian forces seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine in the first days of its 2022 invasion.

Both sides regularly accuse each other of endangering safety at the site, Europe's largest nuclear facility.

"For 785 days now, Russian terrorists have held hostage the Zaporizhzhia NPP," Zelenskyy wrote on X, formerly Twitter. "And it is the entire world's responsibility to put pressure on Russia to ensure that ZNPP is liberated and returned to full Ukrainian control, as well as that all Ukrainian nuclear facilities are protected from Russian strikes."

"This is the only way to prevent new radiation disasters, which the Russian occupiers' presence at ZNPP constantly threatens."

The Chernobyl explosion in 1986 is considered the worst nuclear accident in history in terms of the scale of contamination and the number of victims. The detonation in the reactor zones caused radioactive contamination that directly contaminated a radius of tens of kilometres, and wind and water movement carried nuclear contamination further afield.