Biden and Zelensky discuss Russia’s attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant

President Joe Biden spoke Thursday night with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky to discuss Russia’s bombing of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.

The White House was monitoring the situation, officials said, without providing details of the call.

“POTUS spoke to President Zelenskyy this evening to receive an update on the fire at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant,” the White House tweeted.

“He joined President Zelenskyy in urging Russia to cease its military activities in the region and allow firefighters and emergency responders access to the site.

“POTUS also spoke tonight with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Undersecretary for Nuclear Security and Administrator of the National Nuclear Security Administration to receive an update on the situation at the plant.

“The president will continue to be briefed regularly.”

Zelensky, in a video posted to social media, said he spoke to leaders from the UK, Germany, Poland and the European Council, in addition to Biden.

The factory in Zaporizhzhya, 350 miles south of the capital Kiev, was partially on fire Thursday evening and into the early hours of Friday morning – although the fire is believed to have occurred in an administrative building used for training, rather than a reactor.

Andrii Tuz, a spokesman for the plant, told CNN the facility was attacked “from the air, from tanks, from rockets, from a lot of armor.”

He said Ukraine retained control of the site.

“But at any time, it can lead to a nuclear accident.”

A building at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant was on fire in the early hours of Friday morning. The structure is believed to be an office building rather than a reactor

Footage from a live stream at the Dnieper site showed powerful explosions lighting up the night sky in the early hours of Friday

Footage from a live stream at the Dnieper site showed powerful explosions lighting up the night sky in the early hours of Friday

Joe Biden, pictured holding a cabinet meeting on Thursday, spoke with his Ukrainian counterpart on Thursday evening

Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine, spoke with Biden in the early hours of Friday in Kyiv

Joe Biden spoke with Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday evening in Washington DC, and the couple discussed the attack on the nuclear power plant

Tuz said the reactors weren’t on fire.

“The Russians shoot at a unit of the nuclear power plant – unit one and unit two have damage.”

He added: “Please help us.”

Igor Murashov, Ukraine’s nuclear chief, said efforts to extinguish the fire were underway.

“#Nuclear security at #Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant has been broken,” Nexta reported on Twitter.

“We are doing everything we can, but the fire continues, firefighters are not allowed. There are great risks.

“There are fights at the factory. The #reactors are in danger.’

The plant has six reactors. It was unclear whether the nuclear fuel rods remained in the reactors or were shut down.

However, nuclear experts were urgently calling for a halt to the fighting, stressing that if the power to the plant were cut off, it could trigger a devastating incident.

Even if reactors were shut down and nuclear rods placed in cooling pools, the pools required large amounts of water and electricity, said Joseph Cirincione, who has worked on nuclear weapons policy in Washington for more than 35 years.

The International Atomic Energy Agency expressed deep concern on Thursday evening, but stressed that no increase in radiation levels had been reported.

“The #Ukrainian regulator advises the IAEA that no change has been reported in the #radiation levels at the #Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant site,” they tweeted.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted a dire warning about the attack.

“The Russian army is firing from all sides at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” he said.

‘The fire has already broken out.

“If it explodes, it will be 10 times bigger than Chernobyl!

“The Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease fire, authorize the fire brigade, establish a safety zone!”

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