Zelensky accuses Russia of radiation blackmail after tour of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro

Vasco Cotovio in London

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy thanked the secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for his support and accused Russia of nuclear blackmail over its control of one of Ukraine’s Nuclear Power Plants (NPP). The accusations come after Zelenksy visited the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro.

“I met with IAEA head Rafael Grossi. The topic is clear: the security of our energy industry, our nuclear plants. First of all, the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which Russia still uses for radiation blackmail of the world,” Zelensky said in his nightly address from Dnipro on Monday. “No other terrorist has reached such depths in his cynicism, in which Russia constantly seeks and finds a new bottom.”

Zelensky said Russia’s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant threatened global security.

“Holding a nuclear power plant hostage for more than a year is the worst thing that could happen in the history of the European and in general global nuclear energy sector,” he said. “The longer the Russian occupation of the ZNPP continues, the greater will be the threat to the security of Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the world.”

“I am grateful to our partners, grateful to Grossi for understanding this and for supporting Ukraine in the relevant issues,” Zelensky said.


Zelensky’s meeting with Grossi came ahead of his visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant later in the week.

Zelensky met with frontline soldiers, visited a military hospital in Zaporizhia and saw the impact of Russian shelling in Marhanets and Nikopol. He also held a Cabinet meeting in Dnipro.

“I have just held a meeting of the Staff — for the first time away, in Dnipro. Right here — in the strategic city of the center of our country, after visiting Marhanets and Nikopol, Zaporizhzhia, the frontline positions of our warriors in the Zaporizhzhia region,” he said. “The commanders of the operational areas reported the actual situation.”

“Every commander understands that the enemy must be held accountable for every attack on our cities and villages, on our people. For Slovyansk, for Kostiantynivka and Druzhkivka, for Avdiivka and Toretsk, for all the pain of Ukrainians — and not only during the full-scale war, but also since 2014,” he said.

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