Conservative British member of parliament Tobias Ellwood, who chairs the House of Commons Defense Select Committee, cautioned that any nuclear accident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant could draw NATO into the war between Russia and Ukraine.
“Let’s make it clear now: any deliberate damage causing potential radiation leak to a Ukrainian nuclear reactor would be a breach of NATO’s Article 5,” he said Friday on Twitter.
Article 5 of the NATO treaty states that an armed attack against one or more NATO allies in Europe or North America is to be considered an attack against them all and compels each to take any action it deems necessary to assist the attacked member state.
Let’s make it clear now:
ANY deliberate damage causing potential radiation leak to a Ukrainian nuclear reactor would be a breach of NATO’s Article 5.@thetimes pic.twitter.com/FFv6KR1xdq
— Tobias Ellwood MP (@Tobias_Ellwood) August 19, 2022]]
During a phone call Friday with French President Emmanuel Macron, President Vladimir Putin said Russia will allow international inspectors to enter the Russian–occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear site in Ukraine, Europe’s largest nuclear facility.
Hours later, while giving a speech commemorating the 78th anniversary of the allied landing in Nazi-occupied southern France, Macron accused the Russian leader of launching a “brutal attack” on Ukraine in an imperialist, revanchist violation of international law.
He warned French citizens that the resulting energy and economic crisis confronting Europe is not over, calling it “the price of our freedom and our values.”
“Since Vladimir Putin launched his brutal attack on Ukraine, war has returned to European soil, a few hours away from us,” Macron said, adding that Putin is seeking to impose his “imperialist will” on Europe, conjuring “phantoms of the spirit of revenge” in a “flagrant violation of the integrity of states.”
There is growing concern in Europe that shelling around Zaporizhzhia could result in a catastrophe worse than the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear disaster.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi “welcomed recent statements indicating that both Ukraine and Russia supported the IAEA’s aim to send a mission” to the plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said in his daily address Friday, “Ukrainian diplomats, our partners, representatives of the U.N. and the IAEA are working out the specific details of the mission to be sent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. … I am grateful to everyone who joined this work and initiative.”
Zelenskyy also cautioned in his address, “If Russian blackmail with radiation continues, this summer may go down in the history of various European countries as one of the most tragic of all time. Because not a single instruction at any nuclear power plant in the world envisages a procedure in case a terrorist state turns a nuclear power plant into a target.”