Published:  08:46 AM, 14 May 2022

Russia-Ukraine war comes with a nuclear threat

The attack by Russians on a nuclear power plant in Ukraine early Thursday has raised questions as to why President Putin would go for such an extreme action. We are sure a veteran statesman like him has a clear idea what a damaged nuclear power plant can do to the entire region's population and biodiversity. Putin and his military commanders must be aware of the Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster that took place in 1986 and its tragic aftermath. It too was located in Ukraine. Besides causing deaths to hundreds of citizens, it spread deadly radioactive contamination across Europe.

We are, therefore, shocked at the Russian decision to target the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant which caused a fire in a part of the building. The people in charge there, with the help of Ukrainian soldiers, have been able to extinguish the fire, and so far there has been no report of radiation leakage. It surely was a close call that otherwise could have been of nightmarish consequences. We are further alarmed by the news that Russian forces have seized control of the power plant after a battle with Ukrainian troops on the ground. Ukraine's nuclear establishments have been a major point of concern since the Russian invasion of the country. And the fear of damage to one of these establishments came true on Friday.

The Ukrainian president termed the attack as an unprecedented "nuclear terror" and his allies in the West accused Moscow of endangering millions of lives by launching a full-blown war on Ukraine. Many of them called upon Putin to withdraw all troops and engage in diplomatic efforts to resolve the issues. But as the latest developments indicate, there is no sign of Russian forces withdrawing from any place under their occupation. Rather, they are carrying on with their offensive on multiple fronts and targets. Meanwhile, the number of civilian deaths is mounting, while refugee numbers have crossed over 1.2 million already. Bangladesh also condemns the unprovoked rocket attack on one of its commercial ocean liners, while left one of the crew members dead and the ship badly damaged. We are, however, relieved to learn that the rest of the crew members have been taken to a safe zone.

While we strongly condemn the Russian action on the nuclear power plant in Ukraine, we insist that all nuclear sites everywhere be kept safe and secure so that no disaster like Chernobyl can happen ever again. With the memory of some tragic nuclear disasters still fresh in our minds, we urge President Putin and President Zelensky to give peace a chance by starting a dialogue sitting across the table.

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