US calls Russian attack of Ukrainian power plant ‘reckless and dangerous’
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Linda Thomas-Greenfield on Friday condemned Russia’s attack on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine as “reckless and dangerous,” calling on Russian President Vladimir Putin to withdraw troops from the plant and cease his military attack on Ukraine.
“Russia’s attack last night put Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at grave risk. It was incredibly reckless and dangerous. And it threatened the safety of civilians across Russia, Ukraine and Europe,” Thomas-Greenfield said during an emergency U.N. security council meeting Friday. “Nuclear facilities cannot become part of this conflict.”
Her comments came hours after a firefight near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant raised concerns about a possible nuclear incident. The plant came under shelling from Russian troops, and a fire broke out on the site. Russian troops are currently occupying the plant.
The International Atomic Energy Agency has said subsequently there was no release of radioactive material from the site.
Thomas-Greenfield on Friday demanded that Russia withdraw troops from the plant “to permit medical treatment for injured personnel, to ensure operators have full access to the site and are able to communicate with nuclear regulators, and to allow the operators to conduct shift changes to ensure the continued safe operation of the plant.”
She also called for Ukrainian firefighters and nuclear engineers to have full access to the facility to conduct an assessment of any damage.
The United Kingdom requested the emergency U.N. security council meeting on Friday following the assault on the nuclear plant.
Speaking after Thomas-Greenfield, Russia’s U.N. ambassador Vasily Nebenzya called the emergency meeting an attempt by Ukraine and the West to create “artificial hysteria” about the situation in Ukraine and denied that Russia attacked the nuclear plant.
President Biden spoke with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky late Thursday as news broke of the fire at Zaporizhzhia.