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Eugene Czolij: NATO member countries are targets of Putin’s military aggression and must act accordingly in Ukraine

March 7, 2022 2:11 amby Eugene Czolij
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Ukrainian servicement assist a person while people cross a destroyed bridge as they evacuate the city of Irpin, northwest of Kyiv, during heavy shelling and bombing on March 5, 2022, 10 days after Russia launched a military in vision on Ukraine. (AFP/Getty Images)

Following a call with the Russian President on 3 March 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron indicated that “the worst is yet to come” and that Putin wanted to take all of Ukraine. 

It is difficult to imagine what could be worse than perpetrating war crimes by indiscriminate daily bombardment of Ukraine’s capital and other cities for over a week by the Russian military, killing civilians, including innocent children, and inflicting destruction on Ukrainian civil infrastructure. 

However, in the early hours of 4 March 2022, the world was shocked when the Russian military shelled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, situated in Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia Oblast in Ukraine. Incredibly, even after fire broke out at a training building for the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, the shelling continued for some time, preventing Ukrainian firemen from extinguishing it. Ukraine’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba warned the international community on Twitter: “Russian army is firing from all sides upon Zaporizhzhia NPP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Fire has already broke out. If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, establish a security zone!

The attack was not an accident, it was a signal, and it is without precedent in history. 

The Russians are familiar with that nuclear power plant since it was designed during the Soviet era. Moreover, The Globe and Mail reported that, according to Victor Buchnyev, an adviser to the mayor of Enerhodar, the attack force at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant included representatives from Rosatom, the Russian state atomiс energy corporation. Shelling the site was a particularly reckless act meant to signal that there is no line that Putin will not cross. It constitutes an act of nuclear terrorism.

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell Fontelles warned on Twitter that “Shelling & resulting fire at Zaporizhzhia power plant can endanger the whole of Europe.

At the UN Security Council Emergency Meeting on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant on 4 March 2022, the U.S. Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield made these chilling remarks:

By the grace of God, the world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night. We all waited to exhale as we watched the horrific situation unfold in real time. I applaud the ability of the Ukrainian operators to keep all six reactors in safe conditions while under attack and to report, as they were able to, to their nuclear regulator. [!p!]

The United States remains highly concerned that Russian military forces controlling the Chornobyl site have not permitted operators there to have a shift change since last week. [!p!/]

Eugene Czolij
Author:  Eugene Czolij

Eugene Czolij is president of the Ukraine-2050 nongovernmental organization and served as president of the Ukrainian World Congress from 2008-2018. Ukraine-2050 was established to help implement within one generation – by 2050 – strategies for the sustainable development of Ukraine as a fully independent, territorially integral, democratic, reformed and economically competitive European state.

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