The world watched in horror as Europe's largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine caught fire in the cross-firing between Russian and Ukrainian troops on Friday morning. The fire, however, was put out shortly. The Zaporizhzhia plant, which has six of the 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine, is currently under Russian control.
Ukraine's Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba had warned at the time that if the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant blew up in the attack, 'it will be 10 times larger than Chernobyl.' Footage released by the Ukrainian authorities from inside the control room of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant showed the moment the staff 'begged' Russian troops to stop firing.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is situated in Enerhodar, a city on the Dnipro River. The Mayor of Enerhodar, Dmytro Orlov had informed at the time that as a result of 'continuous enemy shelling of buildings and units of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is on fire,' on his Telegram channel.
'You Threaten the Security of the Whole World!'
The video sent to The New York Times by a source having connections with the local government showed an announcer pleading with the Russian troops to stop shooting at the plant.
"Stop shooting at a nuclear dangerous facility. Stop shooting immediately! You threaten the security of the whole world!" the announcer was heard saying in the video.
"You are endangering the security of the entire world. Attention! Stop shooting at a nuclear hazardous facility. Stop shooting at a nuclear hazardous facility! Stop shooting at a nuclear hazardous facility! Attention! Stop it!" the announcer was heard saying repetitively.
Russian Troops Reportedly Stopped Firefighters from Entering the Site
The Zaporizhzhia plant creates around 20 percent of Ukraine's electricity. CCTV captured a fierce cross-firing between the Russian and the Ukrainian troops around the plant in the early hours of Friday morning. Russians were even alleged to have stopped the firefighters from going inside and extinguishing the fire.
Later, the emergency crews were allowed to go inside and put out the fire before Russian troops occupied the site.