Six months after Russia invaded Ukraine, we have arrived at “a grave hour,” said the head of the UN’s nuclear regulator.
Afael Grossi spoke out after more bombing raids on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. As of Thursday, 10 hits on the power plant’s office and fire station were reported.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres also said that this “could lead to catastrophe”. Both China and the United States have unanimously requested that UN experts be allowed to visit the facility.
Using the world’s largest nuclear facility to stage battles seems to be the definition of military insanity. In an apparently obvious statement, a US State Department official said, “Fighting near a nuclear power plant is dangerous and irresponsible.”
But appeals for a demilitarization of the zone were rejected by Moscow on the grounds “that they would make the plant more vulnerable to provocation and terrorist attacks”.
The shelling of the facility and its surroundings over the last week shows how close Europe and the world are to catastrophe. The longer the conflict lasts, the closer we become. The Kremlin has been accused of using the facility “as a shield” when its troops fire rockets. Both sides blame each other, so the picture is bleak, but the risks are clear. Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vassily Nebenzia, said the world was “driven to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe comparable in magnitude to Chernobyl”.
Some 50,000 people have been killed and millions more displaced since the invasion began. It was the Russians who started this unprovoked war of aggression and they must be pressured to end it. After all, Ukrainians are fighting to save their country from a merciless enemy.
And it’s not as if the planet doesn’t face enough existential threats already. The impact of extreme weather events caused by climate change, costing lives through destruction from wildfires, floods and drought, is more than enough to deal with.
President Vladimir Putin ignores all this and refuses to back down. He still insists that Ukrainians do not even have a historical claim to statehood. He continues his barbaric methods, terrorizing civilians with indiscriminate shelling.
As military experts point out, wars tend to end in two ways: either one side wins, or a reluctant stalemate ensues. But we are a long way from both in Ukraine.
However, fatigue in opposing Putin can never be an option. He infamously predicted that Ukraine would be conquered in a matter of days. He was wrong.
The West was also skeptical about Ukraine’s chances of surviving a Russian attack. But after six months of heroic struggle in Ukraine, there is a moral obligation more than ever to ensure that the Russian leader does not benefit from the slaughter.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/editorial/putin-cannot-be-allowed-to-profit-from-this-carnage-41908855.html Putin must not profit from this slaughter