Russia has taken control of Europe’s largest nuclear power station in Ukraine after it was hit by shelling.
A fire started at the Zaporizhzhia plant after it was shelled by Russian troops, Ukrainian officials say.
Ukraine also said several people were “killed and injured”.
The United Nation’s nuclear watchdog said radiation levels and the safety of reactors were not affected.
World leaders have accused Russia of endangering the safety of an entire continent, and Ukraine’s president accused Russia of “nuclear terror”.
United States President Joe Biden urged Moscow to stop its military activities around the site, while Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the “horrific attacks” from Russia “must cease immediately”.
United Kingdom Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the “reckless” attack could “directly threaten the safety of all of Europe”. All three leaders spoke to Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky by phone.
Zelensky, meanwhile, said the attack could have caused destruction equal to six Chernobyls, the site of the world’s worst nuclear disaster in 1986.
“If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe,” he said.
Russia’s defence ministry blamed the attack on Ukrainian saboteurs, calling it a “monstrous provocation” without providing evidence.
A video feed from the nuclear plant showed blasts lighting up the night sky and sending up plumes of smoke.
A building within the plant site was set on fire after being hit by a projectile but was not part of the reactors, according to the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi.
He said safety systems at the plant were not affected by the fire and that there has been no release of radioactive material.
He described the situation at Zaporizhzhia as “normal abnormality”, meaning operations are normal but nothing else is.
Earlier, the IAEA said it was in “full 24/7 response mode” due to the “serious situation” at the power station.(BBC)