‘New Chernobyl’ fears as Ukraine vow to attack Putin’s troops at nuclear plant

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FEARS of a “new Chernobyl” spiralled yesterday after Ukraine vowed to attack Russian troops refusing to leave a nuclear plant they seized.

Atomic energy chiefs warned the risk of a catastrophe at Zaporizhzhia in the country’s south east is “grave” as the invaders defy pleas to demilitarise the danger zone.

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The Ukraine president said his soldiers will have no option but to attack them if they continue to fire at civiliansCredit: AFP

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Russian troops stormed the site in MarchCredit: AP

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for shelling at the huge complex — Europe’s largest atomic power station.

Volodymyr Zelensky accused the Russians of “nuclear blackmail” and warned that Mad Vlad Putin’s troops there had become “special targets”.

The Ukraine president said his soldiers will have no option but to attack them if they continue to fire at civilians.

Russian troops stormed the site in March. Some 500 are now based there as Ukrainian technicians continue to run reactors.

Petro Kotin, boss of the firm operating the plant, said 174 containers of radioactive material were in danger of being hit.

He warned: “We could have a radiation cloud. The risk is very high.”

There are fears a stray shell could cause a nightmare worse than the 1986 Chernobyl disaster 400 miles away which killed at least 31 people and sent a radioactive cloud across Europe.

President Zelensky said: “Every Russian soldier who shoots at the plant or shoots using the plant as cover must understand he becomes a special target for our intelligence agents, for our special services, for our army.”

Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, warned: “This is a serious hour — a grave hour.”

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