In what has been described as another “close call” for Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) located in the middle of a war zone between Russia and Ukraine has witnessed some intense shelling over the past 72 hours, including some explosions occurring near the reactors.
While Russia alleged that the Ukrainian armed forces fired 11 large-caliber artillery shells on the territory of the nuclear power plant currently controlled by it, Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear operator Energoatom stated that at least 12 “hits” from Russian military were recorded at the ZNPP site on Sunday.
“The Kyiv regime does not stop provocations in order to create a threat of a man-made disaster at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant� The shooting was carried out from the area of the settlement of Marganets, Dnepropetrovsk region, controlled by the Armed Forces of Ukraine,” the Russian Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Ukraine on the other hand said that the shelling makes any further actions regarding the start-up of power units of the ZNPP impossible.
“The nature and list of the ZNPP damaged equipment show that the attackers aimed at and disabled precisely the infrastructure that was necessary for the start-up of power units 5 and 6 and the restoration of electricity production by the Zaporizhzhya NPP for the needs of Ukraine,” stated Energoatom.
A team of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) – the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations – and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation Rosatom plans to conduct an assessment later today of the shelling impact on the site.
IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, who described the latest shelling at the ZNPP as “one of the most intense such episodes in recent months,” said that he has been in “active consultations” with the world leaders.
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“Once again, we were fortunate that a potentially serious nuclear incident did not happen. Next time, we may not be so lucky. We must do everything in our power to make sure there is no next time,” commented Grossi.
In an interview aired earlier today, Grossi said told American television and radio service CBS that Putin has detailed knowledge of situation around Zaporozhye NPP.
“In my conversation with him, I could see that he had a very- detailed knowledge, not only of the layout of the – of the plant, but also, and very importantly, of the electrical – access, the external power source. It is a facility that he knows- that he knows very well,” he said.
The mounting tensions come at a time when Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky’s claim on Russian missiles striking a village in eastern Poland last week has been refuted by several countries, including the United States.
Dmitry Medvedev, former Russian President and PM who is also the current Deputy Chairman of the country’s Security Council, said that the reaction of the West – and even “the most inveterate Russophobes – the Poles” – indicates that “everyone is already tired” of the Kyiv regime.
“The US, NATO and the European Union do not want a complete rupture with Russia, risking a third world [war]. Hence, the frequent attempts to rein in Kiev and bring it to its senses, to push it to negotiate,” Medvedev wrote on his Telegram account.
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