In the very first days of the invasion, Russia took over the complex that accounts for 20% of Ukraine’s electricity supply. Months of silence went by until, in August, the bombings began around the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, reigniting the trauma of the 1986 explosion of one of the reactors in Chernobyl, a disaster that left tens of thousands of victims and spread environmental effects across the continent. In a conversation with Renata Lo Prete, professor Vitélio Brustolin, from the Fluminense Federal University, highlights the novelty of what Vladimir Putin did in March: “It is the first time that a nuclear power plant is occupied and militarized by an invading force”. And he says that the situation may now turn out to be even more serious: attacking such an installation “is a war crime”. Hence the exchange of accusations between governments. Moscow denies responsibility, saying it would have no reason to target a plant under its control. While Kiev maintains that, “by firing from there, Russia makes it impossible to retaliate”, explains Brustolin. For the Harvard researcher, the UN can do little. “It is difficult to even get there, because Russia has imposed several conditions”, he says. This Thursday, the secretary general, Antonio Guterres, will go to the Ukrainian city of Lviv, but nothing has yet been agreed for an independent inspection of the endangered site.
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The podcast The Subject is produced by: Mônica Mariotti, Isabel Seta, Tiago Aguiar, Lorena Lara, Gabriel de Campos, Luiz Felipe Silva, Thiago Kaczuroski and Eto Osclighter. Presentation: Renata Lo Prete.