The nuclear scare in Ukraine war - GulfToday

The nuclear scare in Ukraine war

Ukraine has informed IAEA that fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected “essential” equipment. (Image via IAEA/Twitter)

Ukraine has informed IAEA that fire at site of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant has not affected “essential” equipment. (Image via IAEA/Twitter)

It took a little time to clarify that the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, located in the Ukrainian town of Zaporizhzhia, was not on fire though and that a building in the plant complex was on fire and that it was put out. There was however no doubt that it was a scene of fighting, and that the Russian troops are confirmed to be in control of the plant.

But in the short time when news spread that the nuclear plant was on fire, markets around the world tumbled. It seemed that a catastrophe was unfolding. But thankfully, everyone, the Ukrainians, the Russians, and the American atomic energy monitors, confirmed that the plant was safe, and that there were no increased levels of radiation around the plant. But it is clear there was fighting around the plant between the Russian and Ukrainian soldiers, and that the Russians finally prevailed. Earlier in the week, Russians troops occupied the space around the Chernobyl nuclear plant, which had a disastrous meltdown in 1986. Ukraine has four nuclear power plants, and it has surrendered the nuclear weapons that were situated in its territory in 1996.

Nuclear power plants, nuclear weapons have been talked about ever since Russian President Vladimir Putin announced what he called a ‘special military operation’ on February 24, and the Russians began their march into Ukraine. And two days after that, he put nuclear weapons on the alert for defensive purposes. And Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said that World War Three will be a nuclear war. This betrays a lack of responsibility on the part of the Russian leaders. In all war strategies, the nuclear weapon option is seen as a last resort. It is not acceptable that people should reach out to them even before a full-fledged war has broken out. Putin was reacting to the strong economic sanctions declared by the United States and the European Union states.

Putting the nuclear weapons system on the alert, though on the defensive mode, betrayed a sense of recklessness. It shows that Russia, in spite of launching a war, is speaking in desperate tones about nuclear weapons. It seems to anticipate that Nato members would enter the war, defend Ukraine and occupy Russia. It has become evident that Nato is not even willing to declare a no-fly zone over Ukraine because that could lead to a clash between Russia and Nato. And Nato countries have refused to send troops into Ukraine.

It can be inferred that Russia’s war in Ukraine is an act of bravado, and that its military strength is not as formidable as it is made out to be. It is the militarily vulnerable country that reaches out so quickly to the nuclear option. It would be better for Putin and Lavrov if their advisers caution them from indulging in talk of nuclear weapons and nuclear war.

In all these years, North Korea, with its unbridgeable hostility towards the US, has not talked about firing nuclear missiles though the missile tests are carried out. The Russian leaders would do well not to talk of nuclear weapons and nuclear war. One of the greatest merits of the Cold War was that leaders of the United States and the Soviet Union talked of reduction of nuclear arsenal and kept the dialogue open. The war in Ukraine should remain a localised conflict, and every diplomatic effort should be made to resolve it. Meanwhile, as the fighting rages between the two sides, Ukraine and Russia have to be sensible about the nuclear plants. And they have proved it in Zaporizhzhia.

The Russian troops took control of the plant but they did not interfere with those managing the plant. And the Ukrainian forces conceded that they are not in control of the plant.

Related articles

Other Articles