Saturday August 13, 2022

Kyiv, Moscow trade blame over nuke plant shelling

Published : 06 Aug 2022, 00:54

Updated : 06 Aug 2022, 00:56

  DF News Desk

Photo: via DW.

Ukraine and Russia on Friday pointed fingers at one another over shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, reported DW, quoting agencies.

Located in the city of Enerhodar, Zaporizhzhia has six reactors and generates more than one-fifth of Ukraine's national electricity needs when able to operate as normal. It is also Europe's largest nuclear plant.

Ukrainian energy company Energoatom accused Russia of attacking the power plant.

"Three strikes were recorded on the site of the plant, near one of the power blocks where the nuclear reactor is located," the energy firm said in a statement.

Ukraine's Foreign Ministry said the "possible consequences of hitting an operating reactor are equivalent to the use of an atomic bomb." Ukraine said Russia is engaging in "numerous provocations" at the plant.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called the shelling of the site "a shameless crime" and "an act of terror." He said the shelling is an argument for "tough sanctions against the entire Russian nuclear industry."

Meanwhile, the Russian-installed administration in Enerhodar blamed Ukrainian forces for damage to the plant site. Russia's Defense Ministry claimed Ukrainian forces "carried out three artillery strikes" on the plant and said Kyiv is responsible for "acts of nuclear terrorism."

In its daily briefing about the war, British intelligence said actions by Russian forces at the Zaporizhzhia plant are endangering the safety and security of the facility.

Russia has likely deployed artillery in areas adjacent to the plant to target areas on the opposite side of the Dnieper River. They are likely using the plant, which they seized in March, as a nuclear shield.

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), described the situation in precarious terms during a nonproliferation conference in New York this week.

"All principles of nuclear safety have been violated in one way or another," Grossi said.