Chernobyl cut off the grid by Russians, sparking fears of radioactive contamination from cooling nuclear fuel


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The Chernobyl plant in Ukraine remained disconnected from the grid due to damage inflicted by Russian occupying forces, sparking concerns of radioactive contamination from cooling spent nuclear fuel. 

The 750 kV Chernobyl-Kyiv high-voltage line is currently disconnected “due to damage by the occupiers,” Energoatom, or the state-run National Nuclear Energy Generating Company of Ukraine, said Wednesday. The Chernobyl station all nuclear facilities of the Exclusion Zone are without electricity. 

The regulator explained that there are about 20,000 spent fuel assemblies stored at the facility that require constant cooling. Without electricity to cool the pumps, the temperature in the holding pools will increase, prompting the release of radioactive substances into the environment. 

RUSSIA-UKRAINE WAR: RUSSIAN NUCLEAR THREAT ‘LIKELY INCREASING,’ US INTEL OFFICIALS SAY 

“The only electrical grid supplying the Chornobyl NPP all its nuclear facilities occupied by Russian army is damaged,” Ukrainian Foreign Affairs Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted Wednesday.  “CNPP lost all electric supply. I call on the international community to urgently demRussia to cease fire allow repair units to restore power supply.” 

“Reserve diesel generators have a 48-hour capacity to power the Chornobyl NPP,” he added. “After that, cooling systems of the storage facility for spent nuclear fuel will stop, making radiation leaks imminent. Putin’s barbaric war puts entire Europe in danger. He must stop it immediately!”

Wind can transfer the radioactive cloud to other regions of Ukraine, Belarus, Russia Europe, according to Energoatom. Ventilation at the facility also won’t function without electricity, so some 210 captured technical personnel guards who have been working to maintain the facility since Russian forces took control of the site two weeks ago risk exposure to radiation. 

The fire extinguishing system is down, posing a dangerous risk if missiles were to strike the plant. Fighting is currently underway, making it impossible to carry out repairs restore power, Energoatom said. The city of Slavutych is also without electricity.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had warned Tuesday that the same shift has been on duty at the Chornobyl NPP since the day before the Russian military entered the site of the 1986 accident on Feb. 24, meaning staff have in effect been living there for the past two weeks. 

Director General Grossi has repeatedly stressed that staff operating nuclear facilities must be able to rest work in regular shifts, stating this is crucial for overall nuclear safety, IAEE said. Their capacity to make decisions “free of undue pressure is among the seven indispensable pillars of nuclear safety security” he outlined at a meeting of the IAEA’s Board of Governors on March 2. 

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“I’m deeply concerned about the difficult stressful situation facing staff at the Chornobyl nuclear power plant the potential risks this entails for nuclear safety,” Grossi said in a statement. “I call on the forces in effective control of the site to urgently facilitate the safe rotation of personnel there.” 

Regarding the status of Ukraine’s operational nuclear power plants, the regulator said eight of the country’s 15 reactors were operating, including two at the Zaporizhzhya NPP controlled since last week by Russian forces, that the plants’ personnel were working in shifts.



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Iran says Israel will ‘pay for this crime’ after Jerusalem kills 2 IRGC officers in Syria


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Iran’s foreign ministry strongly condemned on Wednesday the killing of two Iranian Revolutionary Guard officers in an Israeli missile attack on the Syrian capital.

The foreign ministry’s website quoted ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh as saying revenge for the Monday strike will definitely be taken.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference September 22, 2016 in New York. 
(Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP via Getty Images)

The Guard in a statement late Tuesday identified the two dead men as colonels Ehsan Karbalaipour Morteza Saeednejad. It said in the same statement that Israel would “pay for this crime.”

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Hundreds of Iranian forces have died in combat against the Islamic State group in Syria Iraq. Iran says its forces there are only advisors.



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Ukrainians dismiss new Russian attempt to justify invasion


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The Russian Defense Ministry published on Wednesday a document that it characterized as a “secret order” from Ukraine’s National Guard in an apparent attempt to justify Russia’s invasion of Ukraine after the fact. Ukrainian sources dismissed the document as a likely forgery in comments to Fox News Digital.

Major General Igor Konashenkov, a representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, claimed that the document, dated January 22, 2022, revealed a Ukraine National Guard plot to attack the Donbass region in March 2022. Putin has sought to defend the invasion as a defensive maneuver to protect Russia from Ukraine NATO aggression.

RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE: LIVE UPDATES

Konashenkov claimed that “the document contains the original signatures of the officials responsible for the fulfillment of the tasks of the commof the National Guard of Ukraine.” He claimed that the document “is addressed to the heads of the norther Kiev, southern Odessa western territorial departments of the National Guard of Ukraine.”

FILE In this Monday, Sept. 26, 2016 file photo Russian defense ministry spokesman Maj.-Gen. Igor Konashenkov speaks to the media in Moscow, Russia.
(The Associated Press)

Misha Gannytskyi, director general of the Ukrainian Independent Information Agency of News (UNIAN), told Fox News Digital that the document appears to be an “ordinary Russian fake to justify invasion.”

“I’m sure it’s just a fake – one of many produced by Russia since 2008,” when Russia invaded Georgia, Gannytskyi added.

Misha Gannytskyi

Misha Gannytskyi
(Misha Gannytskyi)

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI), said the Russian claim was “insane.”

“In order to attack a well-prepared position, you need to prepare mobilize a LOT of troops,” Savchuk said. “That never happened, because we would have had to mobilize roughly 200,000 people, form attack groups. This is such a huge logistical exercise that it is simply impossible to hide.”

Maryan Zablotskyy, a member of the Ukrainian parliament who got his wife child out of Kyiv, told Fox News Digital, “I honestly think it does not make any sense to comment on anything Russians say.”

“If the Russian side just lies all the time, then what’s the point of even considering verifying the claim?” Zablotskyy asked. “How many times does one have to falsely cry ‘wolf’ to stop even considering it?”

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI).

Mark Savchuk, Kyiv-based coordinator of the Ukraine Volunteer Journalists Initiative (UVJI).
(Mark Savchuk)

Zablotskyy noted that Russian President Vladimir Putin has claimed he is fighting to rid Ukraine of “Nazism,” even though Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is Jewish.

“I think we are done commenting on any Russian claims,” he added. “We’ll start reading them when they have a free press.”

Putin recently signed a law banning “fake” information that would jail journalists for reports calling the war in Ukraine a “war.” 

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The Ukraine Defense Ministry the office of President Zelenskyy did not respond to Fox News’ requests for comment by press time.



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Venezuela releases 2 American prisoners after US visit


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Venezuela released at least two Americans from prison Tuesday after U.S. officials from the White House State Department made a high-level visit to the country over the weekend, according to reports. 

Gustavo Cardenas was one of six U.S.-based Citgo Petroleum executives arrested in 2017 convicted on charges the U.S. said were made up. Jorge Alberto Fernández, a tourist, was accused of terrorism because he brought a drone into Venezuela, according to Reuters.

Last weekend marked the highest-level visit from U.S. officials to the country in years. In 2019, the Trump administration banned Venezuelan oil imports over allegations by the West that authoritarian President Nicolás Maduro had conducted an illegitimate election. 

The prisoner release came on the same day President Biden said the U.S. plans to ban imports of Russian oil, natural gas, coal. Venezuelan oil could help offset the loss of Russian imports but U.S. officials said the release of the Americans was not part of any deal, but rather an apparent goodwill gesture. 

Nicolas Maduro, Venezuela’s president, delivers a State of the Union address at the National Assembly in Caracas, Venezuela, on Saturday, Jan. 15, 2022.
(Gaby Oraa/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

In a speech last Thursday, Maduro said, “Here lies the oil of Venezuela, which is available for whomever wants to produce buy it, be it an investor from Asia, Europe or the United States.” 

BIDEN DECISION TO BAN RUSSIAN OIL ‘UNDERMINED’ BY ‘FLIRTING’ WITH IRAN, VENEZUELA, CONGRESSMAN SAYS

Venezuela is a Russian ally, Moscow came to the Latin American country’s financial aid when the U.S. banned its oil imports. The U.S. trip was partially meant to capitalize on Russia’s sanction-weakened economy help pull Venezuela further away from Putin’s influence, according to the New York Times. 

President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia's economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.

President Joe Biden announced a ban on Russian oil imports, toughening the toll on Russia’s economy in retaliation for its invasion of Ukraine, Tuesday, March 8, 2022, in the Roosevelt Room at the White House in Washington.
(AP Photo/Andrew Harnik)

The U.S. is also seeking the release of the five other Citgo employees three U.S. veterans, according to the Times. 

“These men are fathers who lost precious time with their children everyone they love, their families have suffered every day of their absence,” Biden said Tuesday of the release, according to Reuters. “We also remember the names the stories of every American who is being unjustly held against their will — in Venezuela, in Russia, in Afghanistan, Syria, China, Iran elsewhere around the world.”

The visit wasn’t without criticism, however. 

Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.Y., chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, called Maduro a “cancer to our hemisphere” said, “We should not breathe new life into his reign of torture murder,” according to Reuters. 

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Rep. Rick Crawford, R-Ark., told Fox News in an email, “The commonsense decision by the Biden Administration to ban imports of Russian oil is undermined by their flirting with instead seeking imports from pariah nations like Iran Venezuela.” 

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela's President Nicolas Maduro gestures after he casts his ballot as he votes for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela on Sunday, July 30, 2017. 

In this photo released by Miraflores Press Office, Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro gestures after he casts his ballot as he votes for a constitutional assembly in Caracas, Venezuela on Sunday, July 30, 2017. 
(Miraflores Press Office via AP)

Rep. Alexandria Oscaio-Cortez told Fox News that turning to Venezuela or Iran for oil was a mistake. “None of these options are good ones because of our dependency on oil,” she said. 

“I think this is the deal with fossil fuels in general is that it’s not an accident that oil-rich states tend to be petro-authoritarian states,” she said, adding that while she understands there are short-term supply issues, the U.S. should refocus on investments in solar wind. 



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Foreign volunteers get Ukrainian citizenship in fight against Russia, Ukraine says


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Foreign volunteers who join Ukrainian forces in the fight against Russia will be granted citizenship by the Ukrainian government if they want, a Ukrainian government official said.

Supporters who travel to Ukraine enlist into the volunteer force will receive a military card from the state’s Border Guard service and, in the future, the volunteers will be among a group of foreign nationals who are qualified to seek citizenship, First Deputy Interior Minister Yevhen Yenin said, Ukrinform reported.

BIDEN ANNOUNCES BAN ON US IMPORTS OF RUSSIAN OIL, GAS: LIVE UPDATES

Last month, Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy announced he was forming an “international brigade” of volunteers to join him in the fight against Russia.

The announcement came in tandem with vocal frustrations about the international community their apparent lack of help.

ZELENSKYY SEEKING VOLUNTEERS, CALLS FOR ‘INTERNATIONAL’ TEAM TO FIGHT RUSSIA

Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba clarified that the fighting force will “defend Ukraine world order as part of the International Legion of Territorial Defense of Ukraine.”

Since the Feb. 27 announcement, over 20,000 volunteers from 52 countries have signed up to fight in Ukraine, Kuleba said Sunday, Time reported. 

Servicemen stnext to the coffin with the body of Col. Vladimir Zhoga, commander of a reconnaissance battalion of the self-proclaimed Donetsk People Republic, during a farewell ceremony in Donetsk, eastern Ukraine, Monday, March 7, 2022.
(AP Photo)

The fighters have joined from European countries, including Poland, Denmark, Latvia, whose governments have enabled their citizens to more easily join the fighting. 

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Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen encouraged citizens to join the fighting during a press conference on Feb. 27. Frederiksen called it “a choice anyone could make,” Time reported.

Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.

Ukrainian soldiers take positions outside a military facility as two cars burn, in a street in Kyiv, Ukraine, Saturday, Feb. 26, 2022.
(AP Photo/Emilio Morenatti)

On Feb. 28, the Latvian government similarly encouraged its citizenry to get involved.

“Our citizens who want to support Ukraine volunteer to serve there to defend Ukraine’s independence our common security must be able to do so,” said Latvian MP Juris Rancanis, according to the report.





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