Former Russian President Dmitry Medvedev warned on Friday that there could be ‘accidents’ at nuclear power plants in the European Union, while warning of what he said were Ukrainian bombings near the nuclear plant from Zaporizhzhya.
Medvedev, who is currently deputy chairman of Russia’s Security Council, wrote in a Telegram post that Kyiv and the West “seem to be ready to stage another Chernobyl.”
“Rockets and shells are falling closer and closer to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant reactor and radioactive isotope storage facilities. They say it’s Russia,” he wrote, adding that he is “obvious” that blaming Russia is “nonsense”.
“What can I say… We must not forget that the European Union also has nuclear power plants. And accidents are also possible there,” Medvedev wrote.
The Zaporizhzhya plant is located in Russian-occupied territory in southeastern Ukraine, but is still operated by Ukrainians. Russia and Ukraine have traded accusations of carrying out dangerous bombardments around the plant, which is the largest in Europe. But Medvedev’s suggestion that there could be “accidents” at EU factories reinforces fears that a nuclear war could stem from the ongoing war in Ukraine.
Ukraine’s nuclear power company, Energoatom, has accused Russia of repeatedly opening fire in the area around the plant in recent days. In a Telegram article on Friday, Energoatom said the alleged bombing posed a “serious risk to the safe operation of the station”.
“Ukrainian staff at the station continue to work and make every effort to ensure nuclear and radiation safety, as well as to eliminate the consequences of damage,” the message read. “The nuclear power plant is still occupied and controlled by the Russian military. Since it is impossible to predict the actions of the invaders, the threat to the physical security of the plant remains.”
When the Zaporizhzhya factory was captured by Russian troops in early March, a few days after Russia invaded the country on February 24, Ukrainian responders were said to have put out a fire that temporarily broke out at the site.
Foreign ministers of the G7 countries have called on Russia to relinquish control of the plant and return it to Ukraine.
“Ukrainian personnel operating the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure,” the ministers said in a joint statement issued on Wednesday. “It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that puts the region at risk.”
Newsweek contacted the European Union and the defense ministries of Russia and Ukraine for comments.