Russian shelling set fire to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant; Minister warns of ‘bigger than Chernobyl’ explosion

Russia-Ukraine War News Live Updates: Europe’s largest nuclear power plant is on fire after Russian troops attacked Ukraine, a spokesman for the plant said on Friday. “The fire broke out as a result of shelling by the Russian military at the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant,” spokesman Andrei Tuz said in a video posted on the plant’s Telegram account.

Russo-Ukraine War News Live Updates: Biden talks to Zelensky as Russian shelling sets fire to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant; Minister warns of explosion ‘bigger than Chernobyl’ © Russia-Ukraine War News Live Updates provided by News18: Biden talks to Zelensky as Russian shelling fires Europe’s largest nuclear power plant; Minister warns of ‘bigger than Chernobyl’ explosion

Ukraine’s Foreign Minister Dmitro Kuleba on Friday called on Russian troops to call off attacks on Europe’s largest nuclear power plant after the fire. “If it flies, it will be 10 times bigger than Chernobyl! The Russians must stop the fire immediately,” tweeted Kuleba.

Meanwhile, the European Union on Thursday agreed to approve temporary protections for refugees fleeing war in Ukraine – numbering one million so far – while setting up a humanitarian center in Romania. The EU’s move came in parallel with its sanctions on Russia, which were imposed in successive waves during the invasion, now in its eighth day.

In Washington, President Joe Biden’s administration announced a similar move, granting temporary protected status to Ukrainians already in the country. This means they can stay in the US and the risk of deportation is lifted. EU interior ministers agreed at a Brussels meeting to activate a temporary security mechanism devised two decades ago – in response to wars in the former Yugoslavia – but never used.

European Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson, who attended the meeting, tweeted that it was a “historic decision”. French Interior Minister Gerald Dormanin said: “The EU will provide temporary protection to all those fleeing the war in Ukraine.” The two later told a media conference that the decision was taken unanimously by ministers representing the 27 EU countries.

Dormanin said the temporary protection would apply to Ukrainians and their family members entering the European Union, as well as anyone with former refugee status in Ukraine. Johansson said there were many foreigners, including students, who were in Ukraine at the time of the Russian attack, adding: “They are not covered by temporary security directives, but they are being helped out of Ukraine.”

“The importance of this moment for Europe cannot be underestimated,” the Oxfam charity said in a statement of the EU decision, calling it “a turning point for Europe”. It said the EU security mechanism “provides a direct lifeline for people fleeing danger in Ukraine” and now “requires all EU member states to get involved and take responsibility”. With the political agreement, the EU law was expected to come into force within a few days, once it was finalised.

The protection allows refugees from Ukraine and their family members to obtain a residence permit for an initial year and the right to access work and education, renewable every six months for a total of two years. Currently, Ukrainians with passports containing biometric data have only the right to visit the Schengen area of ​​the EU for three months without the right to work, which means they may already be entering the EU.

German Interior Minister Nancy Fesser said as she arrived for the meeting that the adoption of blanket protection for refugees from Ukraine was “a paradigm shift” for the European Union, which has long struggled to reform its asylum rules. Hungary’s government – which has the closest ties to Moscow of any EU country – had said it opposed a blanket EU protection measure, according to a media conference by Gergeli Gulias, the cabinet chief of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

But, according to Dormann and Johansson, that protest was dropped and all 27 EU countries supported it. As interior ministers met on Thursday, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen tweeted that the EU was also setting up a “humanitarian centre” in Romania, one of the four EU countries bordering Ukraine. is one. “Protecting those fleeing (Russian President Vladimir) is not just an act of compassion at the time of Putin’s bombing war. It is also our moral duty as Europeans,”.

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