The United States has accused Russia of using Ukraine’s biggest nuclear power plant as a “nuclear shield” by stationing troops there, preventing Ukrainian forces from returning fire and risking a terrible nuclear accident.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the United States was “deeply concerned” that the Zaporizhzhia plant, which Russia was accused of firing shells dangerously close to in March, was now a Russian military base used to fire on nearby Ukrainian forces.
“Of course the Ukrainians cannot fire back lest there be a terrible accident involving the nuclear plant,” Blinken told reporters after nuclear nonproliferation talks at the United Nations in New York on Monday.
Russia’s actions went beyond using a “human shield” Blinkensaid, calling it a “nuclear shield.”
At the New York talks, Ukraine’s Deputy Foreign AffairsMinister Mykola Tochytskyi said “robust joint actions are neededto prevent nuclear disaster” and called for the internationalcommunity to “close the sky” over Ukraine’s nuclear power plantswith air defence systems.
Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine has sparked the biggest conflict in Europe since World War Two, killing thousands, displacing millions and leaving large parts of Ukraine in rubble.