When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch
FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Zaporizhzhya, Inside Job: Russia's Most Likely Nuclear Weapon Isn't A Missile

Ukraine is warning about a possible terrorist attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, which Moscow's military has occupied since the early days of the invasion. The U.S. Senate warns that, in that case, NATO is ready to enter the war.

Image of IAEA director general Rafael Mariano Grossi touring Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant

29 March 2023: Escorted by Ukrainian officials, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi tours Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant and its surrounding area during his second official visit to Ukraine.


The Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine recently reported that Russia is considering an attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. The plant, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by Russian troops since the very early days of the full-scale invasion.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

Russian troops have turned the plant into a heavily fortified military base: the reactor's cooling system is mined, and ammunition depots have reportedly been placed in the radioactive waste storage department. Moscow's military also runs the plant itself, and even Russian nuclear experts who were transported to Zaporizhzhya take orders from local generals.

The area around the station is mined, and missiles and ballistic missiles have been launched from nearby bases. Observers from the International Atomic Energy Agency can no longer get to the plant, and their previous visits were useless.

Beyond Chernobyl 

“Russia is using the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as an element of aggression,” President Volodymyr Zelenskyy recently said. “Now, our intelligence has received information that Russia is considering a scenario of a terrorist attack at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – a terrorist attack with a radiation release.”

You will be at war with NATO.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham and Democrat Richard Blumenthal have introduced a resolution in the U.S. Senate that would consider actions of Russia, Belarus or proxies an attack on NATO, if they lead to radioactive contamination of the allies' territory.

“Our message is directed to those around (Vladimir) Putin: if you do this – if you follow his order, if he ever gives it, you can expect a massive response from NATO, and you will be at war with NATO," Graham said.

Under the proposed bill, in the event of a nuclear attack or an accident leading to radioactive contamination, the U.S. would invoke Article 5 of the NATO charter, which states that an attack on one NATO member is an attack on NATO as a whole.

Neither of the nuclear accidents at Chernobyl in 1986 or Fukushima in 2011 allows us to compare or guess the consequences of the deliberate destruction of a nuclear power plant.

Image of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Russian President Vladimir Putin.


Irreparable damage

"Zaporizhzhya is on the Dnipro river; getting into the water, radioactive substances contaminate the river and the Black and Azov seas. In the atmosphere, they form a radioactive cloud, and only the wind direction will determine which area will be contaminated,” notes Andrey Ryzhenko, a former captain in the Ukrainian armed forces.

The Doomsday Clock was forward

In January, the Doomsday Clock was moved forward another 10 seconds and set at 90 seconds to midnight. If anything, this seems optimistic.

Last November, Ukrainian intelligence reported that the Russian command was planning to blow up the Kakhovska hydroelectric power plant. Even though the plant was occupied and mined, at the time, no one considered Zelensky's warnings – which turned out earlier this month to be true.

Now, Zaporizhzhya is in the same situation. An attack there would lead to irreparable damage to the whole planet – and could precede NATO’s entry into the war with Russia, when the world as we know it would simply cease to exist.

As we've learned over nearly a century, nuclear bombs and missiles are the final option. But Russia has no need to use its atomic arsenal as such: there are six nuclear reactors at Zaporizhya, whose power would be devastating if unleashed.

It is naive to think that the threat of war with NATO will affect Vladimir Putin. Based on his beliefs and rhetoric, he already believes Russia is fighting with the whole world, not just Ukraine. Now, only force and courage can bring the world back from the brink of the abyss.

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


The Pope's Bronchitis Can't Hide What Truly Ails The Church — Or Whispers Of Succession

It is not only the health of the Pope that worries the Holy See. From the collapse of vocations to the conservative wind in the USA, there are many ills to face.

 Pope Francis reaches over to tough the hands of devotees during his  General Audience at the Vatican.​

November 29, 2023: Pope Francis during his wednesday General Audience at the Vatican.

Evandro Inetti/ZUMA
Gianluigi Nuzzi

ROME — "How am I? I'm fine... I'm still alive, you know? See, I'm not dead!"

With a dose of irony and sarcasm, Pope Francis addressed those who'd paid him a visit this past week as he battled a new lung inflammation, and the antibiotic cycles and extra rest he still must stick with on strict doctors' orders.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

The Pope is dealing with a sensitive respiratory system; the distressed tracheo-bronchial tree can cause asthmatic reactions, with the breathlessness in his speech being the most obvious symptom. Tired eyes and dark circles mark his swollen face. A sense of unease and bewilderment pervades and only diminishes when the doctors restate their optimism about his general state of wellness.

"The pope's ailments? Nothing compared to the health of the Church," quips a priest very close to the Holy Father. "The Church is much worse off, marked by chronic ailments and seasonal illnesses."

Keep reading...Show less

The latest