The Chernobyl nuclear power plant has been captured by Russian forces, an adviser to the Ukrainian presidential office said today.
The site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster has seen intense fighting between Russian and Ukrainian forces after Vladimir Putin launched a full-scale assault against the country earlier on Thursday.
Mykhailo Podolyak, an aide of Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy, said: “It is impossible to say the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe after a totally pointless attack by the Russians,” he said.
“This is one of the most serious threats in Europe today,” Podolyak said.
Mr Zelenskyy said earlier today that troops were “giving their lives” so that the “tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated.”
He added on Twitter that “this is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
The plant was the site of a devastating nuclear accident when a nuclear reactor exploded in April 1986, spewing radioactive waste across Europe. The plant lies 80 miles north of the capital of Kyiv.
Fighting in the region came hours after Mr Putin launched a wide-ranging attack on Ukraine on Thursday.
Russian forces have hit cities and bases with airstrikes or shelling, as Ukrainians piled into trains and cars to flee the country.
Ukraine’s government said Russian tanks and troops rolled across the border in a “full-scale war” that could rewrite the geopolitical order and whose fallout already reverberated around the world.
Mr Zelenskyy has cut diplomatic ties with Moscow and declared martial law.