Ukraine warns of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after attack near plant

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile struck three reactors close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday without damaging but hitting other industrial equipment, in what Ukrainian officials denounced as “nuclear terrorism.”

According to Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom, the missile made an impact within 300 m (328 yards) of reactors at the South Ukraine nuclear power plant, destroying a crater 2 m (6 ft) deep and 4 m (13 ft). Gave. ,

The agency said the reactors were operating normally and no workers were injured. But the close of the strike raised fears of a renewed nearly 7-month war. A radiation disaster may occur in Ukraine.

The nuclear power station, also known as the Pivdenukrensk plant, is Ukraine’s second largest after the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, which has come under repeated fires., The reactors of the two facilities are of the same design.

After the recent setbacks on the battlefieldRussian President Vladimir Putin last week threatened to intensify attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. Throughout the war, Russia targeted Ukraine’s power generation and transmission equipment, causing blackouts and endangering the security systems of the country’s nuclear power plants.

The industrial complex that includes the Pivdnoukrensk nuclear plant is located about 300 kilometers (190 mi) south of the capital Kyiv along the southern Bug River. Ukrainian officials said the attack led to the temporary shutdown of a nearby hydroelectric plant, shattered more than 100 windows on the compound and snapped three power transmission lines.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a black-and-white video showing two massive fireballs bursting one after the other in the dark, followed by incandescent showers of sparks. A time stamp on the video is read 19 minutes after midnight.

The ministry and Energoatom called the strike “nuclear terrorism”. The Russian Defense Ministry did not immediately comment. The UN’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Since the early days of the invasion, Russian forces have occupied Europe’s largest nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhya plant. The shelling cut off its transmission lines, forcing operators to shut down six of its reactors. To avoid radiation disaster. Russia and Ukraine have claimed responsibility for the attacks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has installed monitors at the plant, said A main transmission line reconnected On Friday, providing the electricity that the Zaporizhzhya plant needs to cool its reactors.

But the mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located, reported on Monday more Russian shelling in the city’s industrial zone.

Warning on Friday of potentially escalating attacks, Putin claimed that his forces have so far acted with restraint in response to Ukrainian attempts to influence Russian facilities.

“If the situation develops like this, our response will be more serious,” Putin said.

“More recently, the Russian armed forces have carried out some impressive attacks,” he said, referring to the attacks last week. “Let’s consider them as a warning attack.”

As well as infrastructure, the Russian military is pounding other sites. Ukraine’s presidential office said on Monday that at least eight civilians were killed and 22 wounded in the latest shelling.

The governor of the northeastern Kharkiv region, now largely in Ukrainian hands, said Russian shelling killed four medical workers trying to evacuate patients from a psychiatric hospital, and wounded two patients.

The mayor of the Russian-held eastern city of Donetsk said 13 civilians were killed in the shelling.

Patricia Lewis, director of international security research at the Chatham House think-tank in London, said Previous attacks on the Zaporizhzhia plant And Monday’s strike indicated that Russian military planners were attempting to knock Ukrainian nuclear plants offline before winter by targeting power supplies that kept them operating safely.

“Targeting a nuclear station is a very dangerous and illegal act,” Lewis said in an interview. “Only generals would know the intention, but there is clearly a pattern.”

“It looks like they’re trying to cut off the reactor power every now and then,” she said. “That’s a pretty wasteful way to do it, because how accurate are these missiles?”

Electricity is needed to run the pumps that circulate cooling water to reactors, preventing overheating and – in the worst case – a radiation-spewing nuclear fuel meltdown.

Recent Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure targeted power plants in the north and a dam in the south. They came in response to a broad Ukrainian counterattack in the east of the country, which reclaimed Russian-occupied territory in the Kharkiv region and broke what had become a massive stalemate in the war.

The Ukrainian successes – Russia’s biggest defeat since its forces were driven from around Kyiv in the early stages of the invasion – fueled rare public criticism in Russia and added to military and diplomatic pressure on Putin.

Nationalist critics of the Kremlin have questioned why Moscow failed to plunge Ukraine into darkness by killing all of its major nuclear power plants.

In other developments:

Ukraine claims it has recaptured a village in the Russian-held area of ​​Ukraine’s Luhansk region. The Luhansk government Serhi Haidai said that the Ukrainian military had retaken Bilogorivka. Russia did not accept the claim.

– The Supreme Court in the Russian-controlled region of Luhansk indicted a former interpreter for the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe and another man, whose duties were not specified, for high treason on Monday. Both were sentenced to 13 years in prison.

—The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania closed their borders Most Russian citizens on Monday in response to Russia’s domestic support for the war in Ukraine. Under the coordinated travel ban, Russians wishing to travel to the Baltic countries or Poland for tourism or business, sporting or cultural purposes will not be allowed, even if they have a valid visa for the Czech-free Schengen area of ​​the European Union.

– The iconic Russian singer Alla Pugacheva used her famous voice to question the war. In an Instagram post on SundayHe described Russia as “a pariah” and said that its troops were vying for “delusional goals”.

The Russian Justice Ministry named Pugacheva’s husband, singer and TV presenter Maxim Galkin, as a foreign agent on Saturday for allegedly conducting political activities on behalf of Ukraine and receiving Ukrainian funds. Galkin had previously criticized the war.

On Instagram, where Pugacheva has 3.5 million followers, the singer said that in solidarity with her husband she also wants to join the register of foreign agents. She called her husband a “true and indestructible patriot” who wants “the death of our boys to end for illusory goals that cripple our country and take a toll on the lives of its citizens.”

The 73-year-old singer has been extremely popular since Soviet times. His statement was a notable slap by a prominent figure in the Russian authorities, who have sought to quell dissent.


AP journalist John Leicester in Le Peque, France, contributed.

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