Russia and Ukraine are accusing each other of targeting a nuclear power plant

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine are trading fresh accusations over renewed threats to Europe’s largest nuclear plant that has been caught up in the war, with Moscow alleging Ukraine was behind drone attacks on the facility that were witnessed by U.N. inspectors and Kyiv accusing Russia of disinformation tactics.
An official at Energoatom, Ukraine’s atomic energy company, blamed Russia for the attacks, saying they were “a provocation” orchestrated to malign Ukraine.
The plant has repeatedly been caught in the crossfire since Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and seized the facility shortly after.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, a U.N. body, has frequently expressed alarm about the plant amid fears of a potential nuclear catastrophe.
Last July, Ukraine and Russia accused each other of planning to attack the Zaporizhzhia plant, though neither side provided evidence to support their claims.
Even with its reactors shut down, the plant still needs power and qualified staff to operate crucial cooling systems and other safety features.
The IAEA team did not observe structural damage to the “systems, structures and components” important to the nuclear safety of the plant, it said.
“This cannot happen,” he said on X. Zaporizhzhia is one of four regions that Russia illegally annexed in September 2022.

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KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Moscow claims Ukraine was responsible for drone attacks on the facility that were observed by U.S. officials, and Kiev is responding with new accusations regarding threats to Europe’s largest nuclear plant that has been engulfed in the conflict. N. Inspectors and Kiev have accused Russia of using deceptive tactics.

Drone attacks on the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Russian-occupied southern Ukraine were described as “a very dangerous provocation” by Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov on Monday. “.

“In the long run, this is a very dangerous practice with very bad, negative consequences,” Peskov told reporters on his daily conference call.

The US. N. the plant’s six reactors were struck by drones on Sunday, resulting in one fatality. The agency in charge of nuclear safety did not assign blame to any party.

In the area of intense fighting, where independent journalists are prohibited from entering, the Associated Press was unable to independently confirm any side’s claims.

A representative of Energoatom, the atomic energy company in Ukraine, attributed the attacks to Russia, claiming that they were planned as “a provocation” with the intention of defaming Ukraine.

The official was not permitted to speak on the record, so he only agreed to speak to The Associated Press in confidence.

Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 and its subsequent seizure of the plant, the plant has been caught in the crossfire multiple times. An organization run by the U.S. Not N. body, out of concern for a possible nuclear disaster, has repeatedly voiced alarm about the plant.

According to the IAEA, the nuclear facility in southern Ukraine that the Kremlin’s forces have been controlling and occupying since the start of the conflict more than two years ago was unaffected by the strikes. There are IAEA inspectors stationed at the plant, despite its six reactors being off-line for several months.

During the conflict, both sides have used propaganda and disinformation as weapons, and on other occasions, they have accused one another of plotting attacks on the plant.

Russia and Ukraine both claimed in July of last year that the other was preparing an attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant, but neither side offered any proof for their accusations.

The plant still needs electricity and trained personnel to run critical safety features like its cooling systems, even with its reactors off.

The “systems, structures and components” critical to the plant’s nuclear safety were not found to have any structural damage, according to the IAEA team. They reported a reactor dome’s top experiencing superficial scorching.

The IAEA stated on X, the former Twitter platform, that while the damage “has not compromised nuclear safety, this is a serious incident (with the) potential to undermine (the) integrity of the reactor’s containment system.”.

The primary containment structures of the reactors received at least three direct hits, according to IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi. “This is not possible,” he declared on X.

One of the four areas that Russia forcibly annexed in September 2022 was Zaporizhzhia.

Russian officials, according to the Washington-based think tank Institute for the Study of War, are attempting to “use Russia’s physical control over the (plant) to force international organizations, including the IAEA, to meet with Russian occupation officials to legitimize Russia’s occupation of the (plant) and by extension Russia’s occupation of sovereign Ukrainian land.”

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