The US State Department sent an urgent message to all US embassies in Europe telling them not to retweet the US Embassy Kyiv’s tweet calling the attack on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant attack by Russia a war crime this morning, according to the message reviewed by CNN.
The message is an indication that the US government may not be endorsing the war crime allegation made by the embassy.
“All – do not/not retweet Embassy Kyiv’s tweet on shelling of the facility being a possible war crime,” the message said. “If you have retweeted it – un-retweet it ASAP.”
As Russian forces continue their onslaught on key Ukrainian cities, the country's biggest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, came under attack Friday. A blaze there initially sparked fears of a potential accident, but the fire has since extinguished. The International Atomic Energy Agency also said the reactors at the plant are safe and no radioactive material was released.
Thus far, the administration of US President Joe Biden has not said that any of Russia’s aggressions in Ukraine amount to war crimes. President Biden said they are following Russia’s actions closely when asked about the matter on Wednesday.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken has given brief remarks multiple times today in Brussels, but he has not mentioned the attack on the Ukrainian nuclear power plant.
The US has no reason to doubt Russian claims that they are in control of the nuclear power plant, a senior defense official said on Friday. But the official also said that it is "deeply concerning" that US doesn't know what Russian control looks like, expertise of people there and their near-term intentions.
NBC was the first to report on the message.
CNN's Jamie Crawford contributed reporting to this post.