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Ukrainian drones target Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant

The attack happened minutes after International Atomic Energy Agency personnel inspected the facility

Several Ukrainian explosives-laden drones targeted the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on Sunday, the facility’s Russian management has reported on Telegram.   

The atomic power station, Europe’s largest, came under Moscow’s control in 2022, early on in the Ukraine conflict. Rosatom formally took it over after Zaporozhye Region was incorporated into Russia following a referendum in the autumn of that year.  

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.  

According to the post on Sunday, one kamikaze UAV struck near the power plant’s canteen, damaging a nearby truck. Another drone exploded in the vicinity of the cargo port.   

“20 minutes before the attack, [International Atomic Energy Agency] experts were conducting an inspection of this territory,” the statement added.   

In a subsequent post, the power plant’s representatives accused the Ukrainian military of targeting the dome of the 6th power unit, with no critical damage or casualties reported. The message also said that radiation levels around the power plant remained normal.  

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TASS quoted the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant’s chief communications officer, Evgenia Yashina, as confirming that “neither power plant staff, nor IAEA experts were injured” in the attack. She added that the international nuclear watchdog would be shown the impact sites where the Ukrainian drones exploded.    

The management of the facility stressed, however, that “no nuclear power plant in the world is built to withstand full-scale fire impact by an armed force.”  

On Friday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova called on the “IAEA and its leadership to actively use the experts present at the station to publicly record all cases of attacks from the Ukrainian side and clearly state where the threat to the safe operation of this facility really comes from.”  

Commenting on Ukrainian strikes earlier this week, which threatened to cut off the power plant from its source of electricity needed for cooling, the international nuclear watchdog said it was aware of the incident and was studying it.

April 07, 2024 at 09:28PM

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