A Russian missile blew up a crater near a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, damaging nearby industrial equipment but failing to hit three of its reactors, in a move that was censured. Ukrainian authorities denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism”.
The missile hit within 300 meters (328 yards) of the reactors at the Southern Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province on Monday, leaving a hole 2 meters (6.5 feet) deep. feet) and 4 meters (13 feet) wide, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom.
The reactors were operating normally and no personnel were injured. But the close proximity of the attack raised fears that Russia’s nearly seven-month war in Ukraine could trigger a radioactive disaster.
This nuclear power plant is the second largest in Ukraine after Zaporizhzhia . nuclear power plantburned many times.
After recent defeats on the battlefield, Russian President Vladimir Putin last week threatened to step up Russian attacks on Ukraine’s infrastructure. During the war, Russia targeted Ukraine’s power generation and transmission equipment, causing power outages and jeopardizing the safety systems of the country’s nuclear power plants.
The industrial complex including the factory in Southern Ukraine is located along the southern Bug River, about 300 km (190 mi) south of the capital Kyiv. The attack also temporarily shut down a nearby hydroelectric power station, broke more than 100 windows at the complex and cut off three power lines, Ukrainian authorities said.
Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a black-and-white video showing two large fireballs erupting in the dark one after another, followed by showers of incandescent sparks, 19 minutes after midnight. The ministry and Energoatom called the attack “nuclear terrorism”.
Russia ‘seems panicking’
The United Nations nuclear watchdog said a backup line was used to supply electricity to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for essential operations from the Ukrainian power grid on Sunday, but the plant remained connected. connection to one of the main power lines was restored last week, the United Nations nuclear watchdog said. Monday.
“Last week we saw some improvements regarding its power supply, but today we were informed of a new setback in this area,” said Rafael Grossi, General Manager of Mechanical Engineering. International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement.
Russian forces occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, at the very beginning of the invasion. The shelling cut off the plant’s transmission lines, forcing operators to shut down six of its reactors to avoid a radioactive disaster. Russia and Ukraine have been blamed for the attacks.
The mayor of the city of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia factory is located, said on Monday there were more Russian shelling of the city’s industrial area.
The latest Russian shelling left at least eight civilians dead and 22 others injured, the Ukrainian president’s office said.
The governor of the northeastern region of Kharkiv, which is largely in Ukrainian hands, said Russian shelling had killed four medical workers trying to evacuate patients from a psychiatric hospital and wounded two patients. love.
Meanwhile, the mayor of the eastern Russian city of Donetsk said shelling by Ukrainian forces had killed 13 civilians and wounded eight there.
The attack occurred between a Ukraine counterattack in the Kharkiv region was hailed as a potential turning point of the war.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia “appears to be panicking” as his country continues to launch a counter-offensive aimed at retaking towns and cities from the Russian army.
In his nightly video speech on Monday, Zelenskyy said Ukraine was “stabilizing” the situation in the northeastern Kharkiv region, which is now largely in Ukrainian hands.
But in the city of Kupiansk – bisected by the Oskil River – Russian forces are fighting to hold out.
They have yet to accomplish the iconic feat of pushing Russia out of the entire Kharkiv region and back into Donetsk, the eastern region that the Kremlin insists has been its main goal so far.
On Monday, large numbers of civilians were searching for vehicles to move out of Kupiansk, fleeing shelling and what locals said was due to a week-long supply of electricity and water.
“It is impossible to stay where we are,” Lyudmyla, 56, who defied the constant crack of shells to cross the river from the disputed east bank to the west bank in relative safety, told AFP news agency.
“There are fires that come not just daily, but literally hourly. Being on the other side of the river is very difficult. “