Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant hit by explosive drones, U.N. monitor says | EUROtoday

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KYIV — Drone strikes hit Europe’s largest nuclear energy station, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in occupied Ukraine, on Sunday, considerably growing the chance of a significant nuclear accident, stated Rafael Mariano Grossi, director basic of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Russia instantly blamed Ukraine for the strikes and introduced a felony investigation, however Ukraine denied duty and accused Russia of mounting false-flag assaults on the plant up to now.

Grossi, in a assertion on X, stated Sunday that the three containment buildings on the Zaporizhzhia plant, for the primary time, had sustained three direct hits.

“This cannot happen,” Grossi wrote, saying it contravened 5 ideas he set down in November 2022 to keep away from a disaster on the plant.

Grossi stated “no one can conceivably benefit or get any military or political advantage from attacks against nuclear facilities. This is a no go.”

Russia seized the plant quickly after its February 2022 invasion of Ukraine. Shelling and artillery strikes have repeatedly hit near the plant, at occasions slicing the electrical strains sustaining its cooling operations. All six reactors have been shut down.

Ukraine has accused Russia of turning the plant right into a navy base for occupying troops, figuring out Kyiv’s forces could be reluctant to strike it. Meanwhile, close by residents have been residing in concern of a possible radioactive catastrophe.

An announcement on Sunday from the IAEA confirmed the bodily impression of drone assaults on the plant, together with one which hit a constructing housing one of many plant’s six reactors. The assertion described this as “a serious incident” with the potential to “undermine integrity of the reactor’s containment system.” However, the company reported that the drone strikes had not compromised nuclear security.

Grossi appealed to navy decision-makers “to abstain from any action violating the basic principles that protect nuclear facilities.”

The Kremlin spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, on Monday described the assaults as “a dangerous provocation.” In feedback to reporters, Peskov accused Kyiv of “continuing its terrorist activity.”

Russia’s Investigative Committee, the nation’s high regulation enforcement physique, introduced an investigation into the strikes on the plant.

Andriy Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s navy intelligence company, denied that Ukraine had attacked the plant. In feedback to the Ukrainian Pravda newspaper, Yusov stated Russia had beforehand mounted false-flag assaults on the plant.

Three staff on the plant have been injured, in line with the Investigative Committee.

“The Russian Investigative Committee will establish every detail of the incident and will identify the people behind this crime,” the company stated in a press release.

Rosatom, Russia’s nuclear company, stated on Sunday that the plant had skilled an unprecedented collection of drone strikes, which instantly jeopardized its security.

The spokeswoman for Russia’s Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, demanded that world leaders condemn what she referred to as an “act of nuclear terrorism by the Kyiv regime” and accused the West of feeding “the monster [Ukrainian President Volodomyr] Zelensky.”

Yevgenia Yashina, a Russian-appointed spokeswoman for the plant, said the first drone hit a truck unloading food near its canteen. A second drone struck the cargo port area, and a third struck the dome on the building housing the sixth reactor, she said.

A second drone concentrating on the sixth reactor unit was shot down, Yashina stated.

Dixon reported from Riga, Latvia. Natalia Abbakumova in Riga and Mary Ilyushina in Berlin contributed to this report.