- IAEA chief warns of great risks from fighting in factories
- Russia and Ukraine hold responsible for shelling
- President Zelensky says eastern regions hit with heavy artillery
- ‘Hardest battle’ in Donetsk region, says Zelensky
KIEV (Reuters) – Ukraine narrowly escaped crisis after a weekend of fighting that rocked Europe. largest nuclear power plant There was a barrage of shells, some of which fell near the reactor and damaged a radioactive waste storage facility, the UN nuclear watchdog said.
On Monday, Russia and Ukraine exchanged responsibility for at least a dozen explosions at Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. The power plant, which has been under Russian control since it invaded the country on February 24, is located across the Dnipro River from Kyiv-controlled areas.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky urged NATO member states to guarantee protection From “Russian sabotage” at nuclear facilities. Rosatom, head of the Russian State Atomic Energy Agency, said: Discussed Sunday’s bombardment He consulted with the IAEA and said there was a danger of a nuclear accident.
The attack came as Fighting raged further east Following the movement of Russian troops from around Kherson in the south, recently recaptured by Ukraine, to the industrial Donbass region.
Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said anyone who opened fire on the plant “takes a great risk and endangers the lives of many people”.
IAEA experts inspected the site on Monday and said they found extensive damage but found nothing that compromised the plant’s critical systems.
“They were able to confirm that despite the intensity of the artillery fire, key equipment remained intact and there were no immediate concerns over nuclear safety or security,” it was issued Monday night. said in a statement.
Reuters was unable to immediately confirm which side was responsible. The attack also hit a cooling pond, a cable to one reactor and a bridge to another, the IAEA field investigation team said, citing information provided by the plant’s management. .
“We were lucky not to have a serious nuclear accident. Next time we may not be so lucky.”
“We are talking about meters, not kilometers,” he said.
The repeated bombardment of the plant during the war raised concerns about a serious disaster in a country hit by the world’s worst nuclear accident, the 1986 Chernobyl meltdown.
According to the IAEA, radiation levels remained normal and no casualties were reported. There was no direct impact on nuclear safety and security systems, but “the artillery fire came dangerously close,” Grossi said.
Russia’s response to military setbacks in recent weeks has included a barrage of missile attacks, many of which have been powered by electricity that has cut power to much of the country as winter sets in and temperatures drop below freezing. for facilities.
Zelensky said half of the country’s power capacity had been knocked out by Russian rockets.
Grossi has met with world leaders and reiterated the need for a nuclear safety and security protection zone around Zaporizhia, the IAEA said.
CEO Alexei Likhachev said Rosatom was negotiating with the IAEA “all night,” Interfax reported.
Rosatom has managed the facility through a subsidiary since President Vladimir Putin ordered Russia in October to formally seize the factory and transfer Ukrainian staff to a Russian entity. Kyiv has said the transfer of assets amounts to theft.
Kyiv controls territory across the river from the power plant, including the provincial capital. The Zaporizhzhia factory itself and its southern territories fell to Russia in March.
The Zaporizhia power plant, which provided about one-fifth of Ukraine’s electricity before the Russian invasion, has been forced to run on standby generators many times. There are six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled and water-moderated reactors containing uranium-235.
the reactor is shut down Risk of nuclear fuel overheating If the power driving the cooling system is cut. Power lines were cut multiple times by artillery fire.
Russia’s defense ministry said Ukraine fired on power lines supplying power plants. Ukrainian nuclear energy company Energoatom said Russian forces had shelled the site, accusing it of making nuclear threats and actions “endangering the whole world.”
“The Hardest Battle”
After being driven out of the northeastern province of Kharkiv in September and out of the capital Kyiv in April, Russian troops withdrew from the city of Kherson in southern Ukraine 10 days ago.
Moscow has been conducting its own offensive, reinforcing the areas it still holds along the western front line in the city of Donetsk, which has been held by its agents since 2014.
Ukrainian forces said late Monday that Russian forces attempted to advance around Bakhmut and Avdiuk in Donetsk, shelling nearby towns.
Presidential adviser Mihailo Podoljak said that Kherson was being shelled from across the Dnipro River now that Russian troops had fled.
“There is no military logic, they just want revenge on the local people. This is a huge war crime,” he tweeted. Moscow denies intentionally targeting civilians in what it calls a “special military operation” to disarm Ukraine.
Ukrainian police and prosecutors have identified four suspected Russian military locations in Kherson tortured Ukraine’s attorney general’s office said on Monday before people abandoned the city.Moscow denies that its troops committed atrocities in the occupied territories.
Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge, London, Maria Starkova, Lviv, Pavel Polityuk, Kyiv, Caleb Davis, Gdansk, David Ljunggren, Ottawa, Francois Murphy, Vienna, and Lidia Kelly, Melbourne. Written by Frank Jack Daniels and Peter Graf.Editing: Alex Richardson, William McLean
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