Attack on nuclear site a 'dangerous new escalation' in Russian invasion, U.S. says_freckle removal aloe vera gel

Attack on nuclear site a 'dangerous new escalation' in Russian invasion, U.S. saysRussian troops Friday seized the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe after a middle-of-the-night attack that set it on fire and briefly raised worldwide fears of a catastrophe in the most chilling turn yet in Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

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Fire out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant; Russia controls site but Ukrainian staff are operating it

The Associated Press(Zaporizhzhya NPP via Reuters)

"Russia has consciously undertaken an armed attack on the nuclear power site, an action that violated all international agreements within the IAEA," said the statement, which said that plant staff "are monitoring the condition of power units and ensuring their operation in accordance with the requirements of technical regulations for safe operation."

The statement from Ukrainian officials also expressed "disappointment" with the IAEA, saying the organization's statement "did not go far enough to include any mention of the attacking side."

The attack caused worldwide concern — and evoked memories of the world's worst nuclear disaster, at Ukraine's Chornobyl plant.

The shelling of Zaporizhzhia came as the Russian military advanced on nearby Enerhodar, a strategic city on the Dnieper River, and gained ground in their bid to cut Ukraine off from the Black Sea. That move would deal a severe blow to Ukraine's economy and could worsen an already dire humanitarian situation.

The UN human rights office, in its latest count of casualties released Friday afternoon, said it had confirmed 331 people killed and 675 people injured in Ukraine since the beginning of the Russian invasion. The rights office only reports casualties it has confirmed. It believes the real figures are much higher. 

Initial reports from the power plant conflicted over whether one or two fires broke out at the plant.

The confusion itself underscored the dangers of active fighting near a nuclear power plant. It was the second time since the Russian invasion began just over a week ago that concerns about a nuclear accident or a release of radiation materialized, following a previous battle at Chornobyl.

WATCH | Safety systems are fully functional at Ukraine's largest nuclear plant, IAEA boss says

Radiation monitoring systems fully functional after fire at Ukrainian nuclear plant: IAEA

11 hours agoDuration 2:06The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Mariano Grossi, said the fire is now out a building in the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power plant, Europe's largest nuclear facility. The safety systems of the plant's reactors were not affected but the situation continues to be 'extremely tense and challenging,' he said.(Carlo Allegri/Reuters)

Ukraine's UN ambassador accused Russia of committing "an act of nuclear terrorism" with the attack. Ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya told the meeting that as a result of Russian shelling on the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the fire broke out and killed and injured several people.

The plant is currently under control of the Russian armed forces, he said, and "it is alarming that several employees responsible for maintaining nuclear security at the site have reportedly been killed by Russian soldiers," and "there has been no rotation of personnel since yesterday morning."

Those claims have not been independently verified.

Russia's ambassador to the UN Vassily Nebenzia rejected allegations that its forces had attacked the plant, blaming a "Ukrainian sabotage group" for setting the fire.

Kyslytsya dismissed Nebenzia's claim as "lies."

  • VideoWhy Putin drove Russia into war and won't back down

The UN meeting comes after NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a briefing on Friday that Russia's "reckless actions" around the nuclear plant highlight the danger of the war. The NATO chief again urged Russian President Vladimir Putin to end the fighting, withdraw troops and engage in diplomatic efforts in good faith.

NATO allies rejected Ukraine's demand for no-fly zones on Friday, saying they were increasing support but that stepping in directly would lead to a broader, even more brutal European war so far limited to Russia's assault on its neighbour.

In an emotional speech in the middle of the night, Zelensky said he feared an explosion that would be "the end for everyone. The end for Europe. The evacuation of Europe."

WATCH | Fleeing Ukrainians permitted to enter any European Union country

Fleeing Ukrainians permitted to enter any European Union country

22 hours agoDuration 2:32The European Union has introduced a temporary measure to allow Ukrainians fleeing the Russian invasion to enter any member country. The new rules are a welcome respite, but do little to help those struggling to escape Ukraine.(Daniel Leal/AFP/Getty Images)
  • In the northeast, along another major axis of the Russian attack, the cities ofKharkivand Chernihivhave been under bombardment since the start of the invasion, which worsened this week, but defenders are holding out.
     
  • In the capital region, Kyiv has been shelled but has so far been spared a major assault, with Russia's main attack force stalled for days in a miles-long convoy on a highway to the north.

Overall, the outnumbered, outgunned Ukrainians have put up stiff resistance, staving off the swift victory that Russia appeared to have expected. But a senior U.S. defence official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Russia's seizure of Crimea gave it a logistical advantage in that part of the country, with shorter supply lines that smoothed the offensive there.

WATCH | Ukraine's small towns mobilize to assist war effort: 

Ukraine's small towns mobilize to assist war effort

22 hours agoDuration 2:13All across Ukraine, communities like Kopychyntsi are mobilizing to provide supplies for both soldiers fighting against invading Russian forces and the people fleeing for their lives.Fire near Ukraine nuclear plant set ablaze in Russian attack is out, says emergency service

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