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Russian forces seize control of nuclear power plant in Ukraine

Russian forces seize control of nuclear power plant in Ukraine

Posted March. 05, 2022 07:55,   

Updated March. 05, 2022 07:55


A fire broke out Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia after shelling by Russian forces on Friday (local time). A blaze was extinguished but it could have resulted in radiation leaks leading to a ‘nuclear disaster.’ The U.S. and the West announced additional sanctions directly targeting Russian oligarchs, who are “Putin’s wallet.”

According to the Ukrainian government, a fire erupted in a five-story training building at the power plant at around 1:40 a.m. on Friday after being ignited by Russian shelling. Even after a fire broke out, shelling continued until 3 a.m., delaying the entry of firefighters. The Ukrainian government announced at 6:20 a.m. that the fire was extinguished. Reuters reported that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has been seized by Russian forces.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, located in southeastern Ukraine, has six nuclear reactors and produces about 25 percent of the country’s power generation. If the bombardment had hit those nuclear reactors or the fire had spread to the reactors, it could have posed a serious risk to the nuclear power plant.

The Ukrainian government said it is safely suspending the operation of the nuclear power plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the radiation levels at the plant have not increased but strongly condemned Russia, saying attacking a nuclear power plant is a violation of the international law. Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuelba warned that the damage will be 10 times more than Chernobyl if it blows up. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Putin’s reckless actions could threaten the safety of all of Europe, seeking an emergency UN Security Council meeting.

The Joe Biden administration announced new sanctions targeting 19 Russian oligarchs, including billionaire Alisher Usmanov, and 47 of their family members and close associates, including seizure of their assets in the U.S. The UK and Germany also announced separate sanctions targeting Russian oligarchs.

S&P Global, an international rating company, slashed Russia’s credit rating from BB-plus to CCC-minus, raising the possibility of default. A CCC-minus is only two steps above a D rating, which means default. “The downgrade follows the imposition of measures that we believe will likely substantially increase the risk of default,” S&P Global said