Zaporizhia power plant rocked by explosions in occupied Ukrainian region
The Zaporizhia power plant in Ukraine was rocked by massive explosions as the global nuclear regulator warned on Sunday that those responsible for the renewed shelling were “playing with fire”.
The surprising development came after relative and renewed calm in the region – disrupted when more than a dozen explosions struck near and at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Saturday night and Sunday morning, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi called the bombings “extremely worrying”.
“There were explosions at the site of this large nuclear power plant, which is totally unacceptable,” Grossi said. “Whoever is behind this must stop immediately. As I have often said, you are playing with fire!”
According to the IAEA, several of the plant’s buildings, systems and equipment were damaged, but none that would affect the safety of the plant.
Both Kyiv and Moscow have shared blame for the shelling near the site.
Russian troops overtook the power plant at the start of President Vladimir Putin’s invasion of the neighboring country.
Ukraine’s state nuclear operator Energoatom blamed Russian forces for the dangerous blasts, saying the shelling is in line with the Kremlin’s strategy to “damage or destroy as much of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as possible if” the winter begins.
However, Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov insisted that Ukrainian forces bombed the plant twice on Sunday, hitting it near the power lines that supply electricity to the plant.
The plant provided about a fifth of the country’s electricity before the Russian invasion, but has had to run on backup generators numerous times.
Reactors containing uranium-235 are being shut down, but there are fears the nuclear fuel could overheat if the electricity that powers the cooling systems is shut off.
Elsewhere in the Zaporizhia region, Russian forces demolished 30 homes in a dozen communities, according to Ukrainian officials.
One person was injured and 20 buildings were destroyed in explosions in the city of Nikopol in the central Dnepropetrovsk region, which is across from the power plant.
The Kupyansk, Chuguiv and Izyum districts in the Kharkiv region have also come under heavy Russian fire in the past 24 hours.
Russian blasts killed one person and damaged power lines in the eastern regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, the office of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said.
Russian forces fired tank shells, rockets and other artillery at the city of Kherson and other settlements, as Zelenskyy’s office admitted that the situation in the southern Kherson region “remained difficult”.
The city of Kherson was recently liberated by Ukrainian forces.
With mail wires
https://nypost.com/2022/11/20/zaporizhzhia-power-plant-rocked-by-blasts-in-occupied-ukraine-region/ Zaporizhia power plant rocked by explosions in occupied Ukrainian region