Ukraine’s nuclear company Energoatom said Russian shelling had hit energy infrastructure, cutting off power supplies to the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Russian missile and artillery attacks have hit energy infrastructure across Ukraine and shut down the power supply to Europe’s largest nuclear plant, Ukrainian officials say.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) in southern Ukraine was disconnected from the power grid after shelling damaged the remaining high-voltage lines, leaving it with only diesel generators, the operator said. Ukraine’s nuclear Energoatom said on Thursday.
Energoatom said the plant, owned by Russians but operated by Ukrainian workers, has 15 days of fuel to run the generators. Its reactors need energy to keep the fuel inside cool and prevent melting.
“The countdown has begun,” Energoatom said, noting that it has limited capabilities to “maintain ZNPP in safe mode,” raising fears of a potential nuclear disaster.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the plant’s latest transition to a backup power source further underscores the “extremely precarious nuclear safety and security situation at the facility and the need to it is necessary to establish a protected area around it”.
Rafael Grossi, director general of the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said the development “has once again demonstrated the fragile and vulnerable state of the plant”.
Relying on diesel generators “is clearly not a sustainable way to run a large nuclear facility,” added Grossi. “Measures are needed to prevent a nuclear incident at this site. The establishment of a nuclear safety and security zone is urgently needed.”
A senior official in Moscow said Russian special forces prevented a Ukrainian attack on the plant.
Secretary of the Russian Security Council Nikolai Patrushev, a close ally of President Vladimir Putin, also said that Ukrainian forces “continue to bombard the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with Western weapons that could lead to a catastrophe.” global disaster”.
Widespread power cut
Both sides have repeatedly accused the other of shelling the factory, accusations both deny.
Russian forces occupied the plant in the early days of the war that began when Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. The plant is located in the Zaporizhia region, one of four Ukrainian provinces that Putin illegally annexed. law last month.
Energoatom has repeatedly called for the withdrawal of Russian forces from the plant and the establishment of a demilitarized zone around it. Grossi spent months trying to negotiate such a security zone.
The latest reliable blackout of the night came when Russia bombarded two power lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian power grid in “an attempt to reconnect the nuclear plant to the Russian power system,” Energoatom said.
The company claims the Russian side will try to repair the power lines to connect the plant to the Russian power grid and thus supply electricity to occupied Crimea and part of the eastern Ukraine Donbas region, which Russia currently also uses. are in control.
Russian air strikes were also reported in Kriviy Rih, central Ukraine, and in Sumy and Kharkiv, in the northeast. Fierce fighting broke out in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk.
“The enemy is trying to keep the temporarily captured territories, focusing their efforts on restraining the Self-Defense Forces’ actions in certain areas,” said Ukraine’s General Staff.
Moscow said it targeted infrastructure as part of what it called a “special military operation” aimed at weakening Ukraine’s military and eliminating a potential threat to Russia’s security. .
As a result, Ukrainian civilians have suffered from power cuts and reduced water supplies in recent weeks.
Russia denies targeting civilians, although the conflict has killed thousands, displaced millions and left several Ukrainian cities in ruins.
Foreign ministers from the G7 group of wealthy democracies will discuss how best to coordinate further support for Ukraine when they meet on Thursday in Germany.