Kyiv is grasping at every possible lever in its efforts to persuade the West that it too is threatened by Russia’s invasion — including repeated and at times exaggerated warnings of nuclear calamity for the rest of Europe.
Since the very first day of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine, when Russian troops captured the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site in a firefight, the country’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and his officials have warned of a repeat of the explosion that spread radioactive fallout across Europe.
“Our defenders are giving their lives so that the tragedy of 1986 will not be repeated,” Zelenskyy wrote that day. “This is a declaration of war against the whole of Europe.”
Eight days later, Zelenskyy said a nighttime attack that damaged an administrative building at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the Continent’s largest, “could have been the end of history for Ukraine and Europe.”