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Heavy fighting sparks fire outside nuclear plant in Ukraine - officials

Heavy fighting sparks fire outside nuclear plant in Ukraine – officials

A general view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine on June 12, 2008. File photo. Photograph: Reuters

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  • No signs of elevated radiation – RIA
  • Heavy fighting in the area around the nuclear plant
  • The advance of Russian forces outside Kyiv was halted
  • The total number of refugees exceeds one million – UNHCR
  • Ukraine’s president says defense lines are holding up

Ukraine’s state emergency service said on Friday that a fire broke out in a training building outside Europe’s largest nuclear power plant during heavy fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces.

A spokesman for the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant told the RIA that background radiation levels had not changed. The director of the plant told Ukraine-24 TV that radiation protection had been secured.

A videotape from the station southeast of the capital Kyiv appeared to show smoke and flames coming from an unknown building.

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Reuters was not immediately able to verify the information, including the potential risk of any fire.

The mayor of the nearby town of Energodar said in an online post that fierce battles took place in the area, about 550 km southeast of Kyiv. He added, without elaborating on any injuries.

“As a result of the enemy’s continuous bombing of buildings and units at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant caught fire,” Mayor Dmytro Orlov said in his Telegram channel. He did not give details.

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Early reports of the accident at the power plant sent financial markets up in Asia, with stocks plummeting and oil prices rising even more.

Russia has already captured the defunct Chernobyl plant, about 100 kilometers north of Kyiv, which released radioactive waste across much of Europe when it melted down in the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986. Some analysts have pointed out that the Zaporizhia plant is of a different kind and safer to Chernobyl. .

“The Russian army is firing from all sides at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba wrote on Twitter.

“A fire has already broken out…the Russians should stop the fire immediately, let the firefighters go, and set up a security zone!”

Zaporizhzhia provides more than one fifth of the total electricity generated in Ukraine.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in a tweet on Twitter that it was “aware of reports of bombing” of the power plant and was in contact with the Ukrainian authorities about the situation.

As the largest attack on a European country since World War II enters its ninth day, thousands are believed to have been killed or injured, a million refugees have fled Ukraine and the Russian economy has come under international sanctions.

The United States and Britain announced sanctions against more Russian oligarchs on Thursday, following the European Union’s measures, as they escalated pressure on the Kremlin.

US President Joe Biden said the sanctions had “really had a profound impact”.

Russia describes its actions in Ukraine as a “special operation” that aims not to occupy territory but to overthrow the democratically elected government, destroy the military capabilities of its neighbors and arrest what it considers dangerous nationalists. It denies targeting civilians.

Additional reporting by Pavel Politiuk, Natalia Zenets and Aleksandr Vasovich in Ukraine, David Leungren in Ottawa and other Reuters offices; Written by Costas Pettas and Lincoln Fest; Editing by Rosalba O’Brien and Stephen Coates

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.