Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant again lost external power, says head of UN nuclear watchdog

Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, which is surrounded by Russian troops, has lost all external power needed for vital safety systems for the second time in five days, the head of the nuclear watchdog said on Wednesday. UN, calling it a « deeply disturbing development ».

The warning from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi came amid a flurry of developments in Russia’s war in Ukraine. Ukraine’s military command said its forces had taken over five settlements in the southern Kherson region, on the western outskirts of an area under Russian control, and Russia’s main internal security agency said eight people had been arrested in connection with the Crimean Bridge explosion over the weekend.

Grossi, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, said agency controllers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – reported the external power cut and said that backup diesel generators kept nuclear safety and security equipment operational.

« This repeated loss of off-site power supply to #ZNPP is a deeply concerning development and highlights the urgent need for a nuclear protection and safety zone around the site, » Grossi said. tweeted.

A woman waits next to destroyed buildings after collecting an emergency food parcel on Tuesday in Svyatohirs’k, Donetsk Oblast, Ukraine. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Ukrainian state nuclear operator Energoatom said on the social media platform Telegram that a Russian missile attack on the « Dniprovska » substation in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region in the north damaged it, leading to the shutdown of a key communication line to the factory – prompting the diesel generators to ignite automatically.

Russia arrests 8 people after Crimea bridge explosion

Earlier Wednesday, Ukraine’s Southern Command said its forces had recaptured five settlements in the southern Kherson region, according to the Southern Operational Command.

The villages of Novovasylivka, Novohryhorivka, Nova Kamianka, Tryfonivka and Chervone in the Beryslav district were taken over on October 11, according to Southern Command spokesman Vladislav Nazarov.

The settlements are in one of the four regions recently annexed by Russia.

A serviceman wearing a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the Russian-controlled town of Enerhodar in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region on August 4. (Alexander Ermoshenko/Reuters)

Also on Wednesday, Russia’s main internal security agency said it had arrested eight people accused of taking part in the shelling of the main bridge connecting Russia with Crimea, while an official in Zaporizhzhia said Russian forces had carried out attacks there. other keystrokes.

The Federal Security Service, known by the Russian acronym FSB, said it arrested five Russians and three Ukrainian and Armenian citizens in Saturday’s attack that damaged the Kerch Bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula – a Crucial supply and travel thoroughfare construction under Putin cost billions.

A truck loaded with explosives exploded as it crossed the bridge, killing four people and causing two sections of one of the two car links to collapse.

Ukrainian officials welcomed the explosion at the bridge, but refrained from directly claiming responsibility.

Attacks on Zaporizhzhia continue

The FSB alleged that the suspects were working on orders from Ukrainian military intelligence to secretly move the explosives to Russia and falsify accompanying documents.

He said the explosives were moved by sea from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to Bulgaria before being shipped to Georgia, driven to Armenia and then back to Georgia before being transported to Russia as part of a complex plan to secretly deliver them to the target.

Putin alleged that Ukrainian special services orchestrated the explosion, calling it an « act of terrorism », and responded by ordering a barrage of missile strikes on Ukraine.

A Ukrainian army officer in Lyman, Donetsk Oblast, stands next to Russian military vehicles on Tuesday that were destroyed in the fighting to retake the strategic eastern town. (Carl Court/Getty Images)

Russia’s assault continued Wednesday in the Zaporizhzhia region and the eponymous city, smashing windows and blowing out doors in residential buildings, city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said. There were no immediate reports of casualties, although Kurtev warned residents of the possibility of a follow-up attack.

Zaporizhzhia, which sits fairly close to the frontline between Russian and Ukrainian forces, has been repeatedly hit by often deadly attacks in recent weeks. It is part of a larger region, including the nuclear power plant, which Moscow said it annexed in violation of international law. The city itself remains in Ukrainian hands.

Russian strikes could constitute a war crime, says UN

To the south, in an area of ​​the region under Russian control, a powerful explosion hit the town of Melitopol, sending a car flying through the air, Mayor Ivan Fedorov. There was no word on the casualties.

The new clashes came two days after Russian forces began bombarding many parts of Ukraine with more missiles and ammunition-carrying drones, killing at least 19 people on Monday alone in an attack that the office of UN human rights called it « particularly shocking » and representing potential. war crimes.

WATCH | G7 leaders pledge support for Ukraine:

G7 leaders pledge to support Ukraine ‘for as long as it takes’

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers pledged to stand with Ukraine and continue to provide support following a virtual emergency meeting with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Zelenskyy has asked G7 allies to provide his troops with air defense capabilities to defend against Russian missile strikes.

Tuesday marked the second day in a row that air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine, and officials advised residents to conserve energy and stock up on water. The strikes knocked out power across the country and disrupted the relative calm that had returned to the capital, Kyiv, and many other towns far from the frontlines of the war.

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers condemned the bombing and said they « will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes ». Their pledge defied Russian warnings that Western aid would prolong the war and the pain of the Ukrainian people.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told G7 leaders during a virtual meeting on Tuesday that Russia had fired more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones at Ukraine in two days. He called for « more modern and efficient » air defense systems – although he said Ukraine had shot down many Russian projectiles.


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