Ukrainian President Zelenskyy addresses the donors’ conference held in Denmark

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has warned of a possible nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant controlled by Russian forces.

“Russia could cause the biggest radiological accident in history at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” Zelenskyy said while addressing defense leaders at a conference in Denmark aimed at boosting arms funding, the training and demining work in his country.

“And its real consequences could be even more catastrophic than Chernobyl, and essentially the same as Russia’s use of nuclear weapons, but without a nuclear strike,” Zelenskyy warned.

The Zaporizhzhia plant is located in southern Ukraine, near the town of Enerhodar, on the banks of the Dnieper.

It is one of the 10 largest nuclear power plants in the world.

Built in Soviet times, it has six reactors with a total capacity of 5,700 megawatts.

Three of the reactors are in service.

Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of bombing the nuclear power plant, stoking international fears of a disaster on the continent.

Fighting around the plant has fueled fears of a disaster like Chernobyl, where a reactor exploded and spewed deadly radiation, contaminating a large area in the world’s worst nuclear accident.

Zelenskyy urged Western nations to toughen sanctions against Russia and its nuclear industry and increase political pressure on the Russian government.

The Copenhagen conference follows an April meeting at a US airbase in Germany that established the US-led Ukrainian Defense Contact Group, which coordinates international military support to Ukraine.

“Ukraine needs weapons of such power, such range that Russia is forced to finally think about finding a peaceful solution,” Zelenskyy added, speaking via a live link from the Ukraine.

Image: AP

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Christi C. Elwood