Ukraine was on the brink of nuclear disaster after Vladimir Putin’s forces attacked Europe’s largest nuclear power plant. The strike at the Zaporizhia plant has raised fears of a radioactive catastrophe
Image: Zuma Press/PA Images)
Demands mounted tonight for Vladimir Putin to be brought to justice over his invasion of Ukraine.
Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown said a new tribunal should be set up to deal with the Russian leader’s actions.
It comes after Putin’s forces nearly triggered a nuclear catastrophe with an attack on a nuclear power plant. Boris Johnson branded the attack “reckless”.
British police are helping investigate war crimes against Putin. And a $1 million reward has been offered for his capture.
Ukraine was on the verge of a terrible nuclear disaster after Vladimir Putin’s forces attacked Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
The strike at the Zaporizhzhia plant sparked fears of a radioactive catastrophe as a fire raged for hours in part of the vast site.
Agency Anadolu via Getty Images)
Putin was accused of “nuclear terrorism” for the horrific attack.
It came as Moscow continued its relentless bombing of innocent families amid reports that soldiers were raping local women as they marauded across the country.
Russian businessman Alex Konanykhin, 55, has offered a $1 million reward for Putin’s arrest as squatted apartment blocks, schools and government buildings were again targeted by shells today.
And Deputy Prime Minister Dominic Raab warned that the attacks are becoming “more and more barbaric” as Moscow tightens its stranglehold on Ukraine.
Three guards were killed in the attack on Zaporizhia in the south late Thursday. The emergency services were prevented from extinguishing the inferno for four hours. The attack, which took place 36 years after the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in Soviet Ukraine, was branded a “war crime” by the US.
It came after a bitter firefight to take over the power plant’s authority.
Boris Johnson branded the attack “reckless” and said it “threatened the security of all of Europe”.
The prime minister revealed that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy phoned him to explain that “an attack on a nuclear power plant or an explosion at a nuclear power plant is clearly a matter of our common European health and safety”. He added: “We remember what happened with Chernobyl, the radioactive clouds spread across the continent.
UKRAINE PRESIDENTIAL/AFP via Getty)
“I worry about how we stop a disaster, there are other Ukrainian facilities and other Ukrainian nuclear waste sites.”
Energy Minister of Ukraine German Galushchenko said: “This is real nuclear terrorism.
“They fired directly at the station. They know what they did.”
Russian troops surrounded the compound last night, although Ukrainian workers servicing the control room were able to continue. Fortunately, there was no radioactive leak after the attack and fire, said International Atomic Energy Agency director-general Rafael Grossi.
However, he described the situation on the ground as “fragile” and “unstable”.
And Mr. Raab warned that Russian attacks were unlikely to slow down after commanders became frustrated that the invasion was not progressing at the rapid pace they had hoped.
AFP via Getty Images)
He said: “I have said that after the faltering start to this campaign, we can expect Putin to resort to increasingly barbaric measures when he is frustrated. And that’s the next phase that we all need to be vigilant about.
He claimed that economic sanctions against Russia are “starting to bite”, but acknowledged that Britain and its allies need to “embed themselves and have the strategic endurance for the long haul”.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg warned Moscow is likely to adopt “heavier weapons” as the brutal conflict intensifies.
He accused Russia of dropping cluster bombs and predicted more death and destruction.
Mr Stoltenberg said: “We have seen the use of cluster bombs and we have seen reports of the use of other types of weapons that would violate international law.”
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba accused Russian troops of raping Ukrainian women. He said, “We have numerous cases.”
As Russia becomes increasingly isolated, Mr Konanykhin announced he would pay the $1million (£756,000) from his own fortune for the “arrest of Vladimir Putin as a war criminal under international law”.
He posted a fake Wanted: Dead or Alive poster online. Mr Konanykhin, who is in exile in the US, insisted he was not calling for Putin to be killed, but wanted him “to be brought to justice”.
The southern city of Mykolayiv was heavily shelled today. Russian forces were also advancing within striking distance of the center.
Shells, rockets and artillery continued to rain down on Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv and Mariupol.
Footage emerged of the charred rubble of a block of flats in Chernihiv, showing bloodied bodies strewn on the ground.
The siege of Mariupol in the south remained in place, despite claims that humanitarian corridors were being set up to let civilians out. The city has been without electricity, water and heating for three days.
Local officials claim Russian troops are also preventing food from ending up in the rubble of charred, bombed-out buildings.
If Russia can take Mariupol, large parts of the Ukrainian army, which has dug itself into trenches in the Donbass region, risk being cut off.
The Kyiv government announced today that more than 2,000 civilians have been killed.
But the number is undoubtedly much higher as it has been impossible to reach some of the worst-hit locations.
Officials said 9,200 Russian soldiers were killed and hundreds of tanks, nearly a thousand armored vehicles and dozens of helicopters and jets were destroyed.
Ukraine and Moscow are expected to hold a third round of talks this weekend to try to stop the bloodshed.
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