Russia says Ukraine tried to strike nuclear power plant again with drone

  • World
  • Monday, 08 Apr 2024

FILE PHOTO: A view shows Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from the bank of Kakhovka Reservoir near the town of Nikopol after the Nova Kakhovka dam breached, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, in Dnipropetrovsk region, Ukraine June 16, 2023. REUTERS/Alina Smutko/File Photo

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Russia said on Monday that Ukraine had endangered European nuclear security by attacking the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station with a drone which was shot down over a reactor.

Ukraine has denied it is behind a series of drone attacks on the plant over the past 48 hours, including three drone attacks on Sunday, which the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said had endangered nuclear safety.

The plant, run by a unit of Russian state nuclear corporation Rosatom, said Ukraine's armed forces attacked the plant on Monday with a "kamikaze drone". It was shot down over the plant and fell on the roof of reactor No. 6.

"It is dangerous, dangerous for the station, dangerous for the surrounding territory and potentially dangerous for all of humanity," Yuri Chernichuk, the Russian-installed director of the nuclear power plant, told Reuters.

"No nuclear reactor was made to be in the centre of fighting," he said.

Rosatom said Ukraine attacked the plant three times on Sunday with drones, first injuring three people near a canteen, then attacking a cargo area and then the dome above reactor No. 6.

The Kremlin said such Ukrainian drone attacks were very dangerous and had extremely grave potential consequences.

A Ukrainian intelligence official said Kyiv had nothing to do with any strikes on the station and suggested they were the work of Russians themselves.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled and water-moderated reactors containing Uranium 235.

The IAEA said its experts had confirmed three drone attacks on Sunday. It did not apportion blame for the attack but said Russian troops engaged an approaching drone on Sunday before an explosion near a reactor building.

It has yet to comment in public on Monday's attack.

"This is a major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers facing the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident and must cease immediately," IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.

"Attacking a nuclear power plant is an absolute no go," Grossi said.

Russian forces took control of the plant in 2022 shortly after their full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

Both Moscow and Kyiv have repeatedly accused each other of risking a nuclear accident by attacking the plant. Reuters was unable to immediately verify battlefield accounts from either side.

(Reporting by Reuters; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Angus MacSwan)

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