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U.S. Embassy in Ukraine calls nuclear power plant attack 'war crime'

Commodities Mar 04, 2022 10:11PM ET
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© Reuters. Surveillance camera footage shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following shelling, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine March 4, 2022, in this screengrab from a video obtained from social media. Zaporizhzh
 
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Embassy in Ukraine said that attacking a nuclear power plant is a war crime, after Russia on Friday seized a Ukrainian nuclear facility that is the biggest in Europe.

The statement on the embassy's Twitter (NYSE:TWTR) account went further than any U.S. characterization of Russia's actions in Ukraine since it launched its invasion on Feb. 24.

"It is a war crime to attack a nuclear power plant. Putin's shelling of Europe's largest nuclear plant takes his reign of terror one step further," U.S. Embassy Kyiv said in its post.

Russian invasion forces seized Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in heavy fighting in southeastern Ukraine, triggering global alarm, but a blaze in a training building was extinguished and officials said the facility was now safe.

Russia's defense ministry blamed a fire at the plant on a "monstrous attack" by Ukrainian saboteurs and said its forces were in control.

The State Department sent a message to all U.S. embassies in Europe telling them not to retweet the Kyiv Embassy's tweet calling the attack a war crime, according to CNN, which said it reviewed the message.

The State Department did not respond to a request for comment from Reuters asking if the Kyiv Embassy's tweet reflects the position of the entire U.S. government.

Rights groups have alleged violations of international war crimes law in Ukraine, including the targeting of civilians, as well as indiscriminate attacks on schools and hospitals.

On Wednesday, U.S. President Joe Biden stopped short of calling Russia's actions war crimes, saying, "It's too early to say that."

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby (NYSE:KEX) on Friday declined to answer the question, saying he would leave that determination to the International Criminal Court.

"This just underscores how reckless the Russian invasion has been and how indiscriminate their targeting seems to be. It just raises the level of potential catastrophe to a level that nobody wants to see," Kirby said in an interview with CNN.

"It is certainly not the behavior of a responsible nuclear power."

Britain has publicly accused Russian President Vladimir Putin's government of war crimes.

The ICC, the world's top war crimes prosecutor, on the request of 39 member states, is investigating reports of cluster bombs and artillery strikes on Ukrainian cities..

Karim Khan, a British lawyer named as the chief prosecutor of the ICC last year, said the crisis in Ukraine is a chance to demonstrate that those committing war crimes would be held to account.

Intentionally targeting civilians and civilian objects is a war crime, a U.S. State Department spokesperson told Reuters, adding that it is backing the investigation, particularly Khan's efforts to preserve evidence of possible atrocity crimes.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has strongly denied claims that Russian forces have struck civilian infrastructure targets or residential complexes.

U.S. Embassy in Ukraine calls nuclear power plant attack 'war crime'
 

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Comments (7)
Alan Rice
Alan Rice Mar 06, 2022 1:20PM ET
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It is not a war crime until the UN passes the legislation. The fast track is advised.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Mar 05, 2022 8:38AM ET
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I guess its ok for the Biden admin to have been supplying Ukraine with a huge arsenal of lethal weapons since as early as December. Its as if they were sponsoring a Ukraine offensive against someone or something.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Mar 05, 2022 8:38AM ET
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it is ok to arm a a peaceful democratic country to protect itself from a dictatorship's army that is gathering at it's borders for conquest kelly the Russian have know invaded Ukraine to conquer it they are not the heroes here. the Russians, with their siege mentality, *****and maiming civilians. Russia and Russians are the Butchers commiting war crimes...
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Mar 05, 2022 12:43AM ET
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any one, or any nation intentually attacking a nuclear power station whether it's breached or not, is commiting a war crime.
Kelly Mayer
Kelly Mayer Mar 04, 2022 6:51PM ET
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From yesterday: Ukraine’s State Emergency Service later issued an update stating that the blaze had actually erupted in a “training building” adjacent to the nuclear site, not the facility’s reactor buildings. While it noted firefighters were initially unable to respond due to the fighting, they were ultimately able to contain the blaze. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), meanwhile, said that no “essential equipment” had been damaged at the plant, adding that there has been “no change reported in radiation levels,” citing Ukrainian officials.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Mar 04, 2022 6:51PM ET
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any one or any nation intentually attacking a nuclear power station whether it's breached or not, is commiting a war crime.
Mar 04, 2022 6:49PM ET
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smells like false flag
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Mar 04, 2022 6:49PM ET
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Russian niles ...and so do you
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Mar 04, 2022 1:10PM ET
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It's like using kids as human shield, and crying foul. it's bad form all around. On the other side of this, I appears Putin does not care what the UN thinks.
Ac Tektrader
Ac Tektrader Mar 04, 2022 1:10PM ET
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todd the Russian have invaded Ukraine to conquer it they are not the heroes here. the Russians are, with their siege mentality, *****and maiming civilians. Russia and Russians are the Butchers commiting war crimes...
Llewellyn Kruger
Llewellyn Kruger Mar 04, 2022 10:17AM ET
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Perhaps if you did not station your artillery in between schools and hospitals, and now I am guessing power plants too; you would avoid them being attacked. If anyone does not yet know, go checkout what these guys are doing on free-speech supporting platforms.
John Healy
John Healy Mar 04, 2022 10:17AM ET
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Because why on earth would Ukraine want to defend the largest nuclear power plant in Europe? Oh, I know… they should have simply left it unguarded so the Russians could waltz right in and threaten to turn off power to the citizens who rely upon it. C’mon, Kruger. Even you must be able to understand that UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES should any shelling/bombardment take place anywhere near a nuclear reactor - let alone six of them. Puck Futin and band of merrymen. They’re now guilty of war crimes on top of the unjustified invasion of a sovereign country AND threatening nuclear war.
Llewellyn Kruger
Llewellyn Kruger Mar 04, 2022 10:17AM ET
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John Healy  You sound reasonable. I take it you don't know what is happening on the ground. Go investigate what Ukraine is doing.
 
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