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EU’s Borrell warns of ‘potential nuclear disaster’ in Russia

The Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant has been targeted by multiple kamikaze drones

Attacks on Russia’s Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) could result in a nuclear disaster, the EU high representative for foreign affairs and security policy has warned.

Josep Borrell was commenting on a series of strikes carried out by kamikaze drones on the nuclear power station in the city of Energodar, in Zaporozhye Region. On Sunday, several bomb-laden Ukrainian UAVs struck parts of the complex, including the canteen and the cargo area. One drone was shot down above the dome of Reactor Six, according to the plant’s press service. On Tuesday, another UAV attacked the plant’s training center, where the world’s only full-scale reactor hall simulator is located. 

“Reckless drone attack against Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant increases risk of dangerous nuclear accident. Such attacks must stop,” the EU’s top diplomat wrote on X (formerly Twitter) on Tuesday, adding that “Russia should withdraw from Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.”

Europe’s largest nuclear power plant fell under Moscow’s control in 2022, early in the conflict with Ukraine. Russia’s nuclear energy agency Rosatom took over the running of the nuclear power station after Zaporozhye Region was incorporated into Russia following a referendum in the autumn of 2022.

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IAEA condemns ‘reckless’ drone attack on Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant 

Kiev has repeatedly claimed that Moscow keeps heavy weaponry on the premises of the power plant. Russia has accused Ukraine of shelling the facility and risking a major nuclear incident.   

Borrell’s remarks echoed comments by the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi. Commenting on the strikes earlier this week, he described them as a “major escalation of the nuclear safety and security dangers facing the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant,” adding that “such reckless attacks significantly increase the risk of a major nuclear accident.”

The international nuclear watchdog, which has personnel at the site, said it was the first time the facility had been directly targeted since November 2022, and warned that such attacks endangered nuclear safety.

Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned on Monday that the Ukrainian drone strike on the Zaporozhye facility was a “dangerous provocation” which could lead to severe negative consequences. 

April 10, 2024 at 01:08PM
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