UKRAINE’S Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which is under Russian control, was rocked by shelling on Sunday, drawing condemnation from the UN nuclear watchdog which said such attacks risked a major nuclear disaster.
More than a dozen blasts shook Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant on Saturday evening and Sunday, with Moscow and Kyiv both blaming each other for the shelling of the facility.
Irrespective of who indulged in this risky game, the incident, once again, highlighted the dangers involved and the need to exercise utmost restraint in war plans.
No doubt, the reactors are shut down but there is a risk that nuclear fuel could overheat if the power that drives the cooling systems was cut.
Shelling has repeatedly cut power lines. The warring sides are blaming each other for shelling but are not realizing that any mishap could have catastrophic consequences for both of them.
The dangers are there as, in an interview last month, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian officials have begun to “prepare their society” for the possible use of nuclear weapons, but added he does not believe Russia is ready to use them.
His comments came hours after US President Joe Biden said that the Russian threat to use nuclear weapons had brought the world closer to “Armageddon” than at any time since the Cuban Missile Crisis during the Cold War.
The latest strikes on the nuclear facility raise the spectre of a nuclear war with possibility of involvement of other countries in the conflict.
Regrettably, the conflict started in February but no meaningful effort has so far been made to bring it to an end and instead policies and actions of different stakeholders are complicating the situation further.
Apart from security, there are also humanitarian dimensions of the crisis besides serious implications for global economy and trade that have further strained the poor countries.
It is the responsibility of the United Nations and other influential countries to take tangible steps to help resolve the conflict in a peaceful manner as war is unlikely to benefit any in the long run.