Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy says Russian forces are trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.
The plant was the site of the world’s worst nuclear accident when a nuclear reactor exploded in April 1986, spewing radioactive waste across Europe. The plant lies 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of the capital of Kyiv.
The exploded reactor has been covered by a protective shelter to prevent radiation leak and the entire plant has been decommissioned.
Zelenskyy said on Twitter that “our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated.” He added that “this is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
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Zelensnkyy has urged Moscow to end hostilities, adding that Russian airborne troops have been checked outside Kyiv.
“It wasn’t Ukraine that chose the path of war, but Ukraine is offering to go back to the path of peace,” he said Thursday.
He said a Russian airborne force in Hostomel airport outside Kyiv, which has a big runway, has been stopped and is being destroyed.
The Ukrainian leader said many Russian warplanes and armored vehicles were destroyed but didn’t give numbers. He also said an unspecified number of Russian troops was captured.
He said a difficult situation is developing in Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city just over 20 kilometers from the Russian border. In the north the Russians are slowly advancing toward Chernihiv, Zelenskyy said.
He appealed to global leaders, saying that “if you don’t help us now, if you fail to offer strong assistance to Ukraine, tomorrow the war will knock on your door.”