HomeNewsWorld leaders react as Ukraine loses control of Chernobyl to Russian forces

World leaders react as Ukraine loses control of Chernobyl to Russian forces

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A presidential adviser has confirmed this morning that Ukraine lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear site, where Ukranian forces had waged a fierce battle with Russian troops.

Adviser Myhailo Podolyak told The Associated Press that Ukrainian authorities did not know the current condition of the facilities at Chernobyl, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

READ MORE: It’s war: Russian President Putin declares ‘military operation’ in Ukraine.

The New Safe Confinement (NSC) metal dome encasing the destroyed reactor at Chernobyl, where some of the fiercest fighting is taking place. Picture: AFP.

“After the absolutely senseless attack of the Russians in this direction, it is impossible to say that the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is safe,” he said.

Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, had announced several hours earlier on Thursday that Russian forces were trying to seize the Chernobyl nuclear plant.

This morning, Ukraine’s Health Minister Oleh Lyashko also said 57 people had been killed and 169 wounded on Thursday after Russia launched a full scale invasion of Ukraine.

Global reactions:

This attack comes just hours after Russia’s President, Vladimir Putin, appeared live on television and authorised a special military operation in Ukraine’s Donbas region. 

A man sits outside his destroyed building after bombings on the eastern Ukraine town of Chuhuiv. Photo: AFP / Aris Messinis.

Putin called on the Ukraine military to “lay down its arms” and return home, claiming his goal was to demilitarise the country.

He also warned other countries not to interfere with Russia’s military plans as it would lead to “consequences they have never seen.”

In response, world leaders have condemned Russia’s actions as an “unprovoked and unjustified attack” on Ukraine.

Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, was one of the first leaders to react and said the invasion “tests the limits” of international law.

“As a matter of principle, Greece respects the territorial integrity, sovereignty and independence of all countries. It therefore unequivocally condemns revisionist actions that run counter to these values,” Mitsotakis said, while lamenting “the brutal violence from which, unfortunately, many innocent people will lose their lives.” 

READ MORE: Greek President expresses support for diaspora in Ukraine amid tensions with Russia.

In Australia, Prime Minister Scott Morrison accused Russia of launching a “brutal” and illegal invasion of Ukraine that will be met with a severe response by Australia and the international community.

Australian PM Scott Morrison condemned the invasion.

Later, United States President Joe Biden released a statement saying the US and its allies would respond in a “united and decisive” way.

“President Putin has chosen a premeditated war that will bring a catastrophic loss of life and human suffering,” Mr Biden said. “The world will hold Russia accountable.”

This sentiment was echoed by not only the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson who called the attack “unprovoked,” but also by Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, NATO, the United Nations and the European Union.

READ MORE: Greece ‘in full coordination’ with EU, NATO as Russia sends troops into Ukraine.

“We condemn this barbaric attack and the cynical arguments to justify it,” European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said. “It is President Putin who is bringing war back to Europe.”

The EU and many countries, such as the US, UK and Australia, have also imposed tough restrictions on Russia in an attempt to weaken the country.

Athens plans evacuation of Greek nationals from Ukraine:

Despite this, fighting continues to worsen in Ukraine and in response, diplomatic sources told Ekathimerini that Greece is planning the evacuation of Greek nationals from Ukraine.

Eleni Dombra, who is Vice President of the Hellenic Associations of Mariupol, where there is a strong Greek diaspora, told in.gr residents woke up scared to the sound of explosions but many refuse to leave for now.

Ukrainian firefighters rescue civilians after an air strikes. Photo: Wolfgang Schwan/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images.

“Our country is being bombarded from all sides,” Dombra said. “We are fine, but not safe. God help us, we try to keep our composure.”

All Greek ships have also been warned by the Ministry of Shipping and Island Policy to immediately leave Ukrainian and Russian territorial waters in the Black Sea.

It is understood that eight ships with Greek flag, as well as a Greek-owned ship with Maltese flag, are currently in the north Black Sea, with 66 Greek sailors on board.

The Greek Embassy in Kyiv and the consulates in the southern port cities of Mariupol and Odessa are making every possible effort to remain in contact with Greek nationals in Ukraine.

READ MORE: Greece affirms solidarity with diaspora in Ukraine amid tensions with Russia.

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