Ukrainian officials and international experts have been warning for months about the risk posed by fighting near a nuclear power plant on the banks of the river Dnipro, in the south of Ukraine . Earlier this week, the world’s nuclear watchdog said the situation was becoming increasingly dangerous.
Then, on Friday (5), explosions were recorded at the nuclear power complex in zaporizhzhia the largest of its kind in Europe reigniting fears of a possible disaster.
Moscow and Kiev accuse each other of bombing the plant, which was taken over by Russian forces in early March, along with the city of Enerhodar, where the complex is located.
the ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky blamed the Russia for the attack, calling the attacks a “blatant crime” and an “act of terror”.
“Today, the occupiers have created another extremely risky situation for everyone in Europe,” he said in his speech on Friday night.
The Russian Defense Ministry has denied the allegation, saying the Ukrainians carried out three artillery attacks on the plant and its surroundings. The ministry added that the generation capacity of one unit of the plant was reduced and the power supply of another was cut off.
Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear power operator Energoatom has accused Russian forces of attacking the Zaporizhzhia power plant and using the complex as a platform to attack nearby targets, including many in the occupied city of Enerhodar and the nearby Russian-controlled city of Nikopol.
When fierce fighting broke out near the facility in the early days of the war, it raised fears of a nuclear incident and drew condemnation from the international community.
Russian troops forced their managers to work “with weapons” after taking the plant on March 5, according to Ukrainian nuclear officials. A week later, the Kremlin sent officials and technicians from the Russian state nuclear agency to help carry out repairs and manage the facility.
Since then, Ukrainian and Russian personnel have worked together and communication with the outside world has been intermittent.
Energoatom said on Friday that Russian bombing hit the nuclear complex and its surroundings and damaged a water intake facility, cutting off power and water to much of Enerhodar.
“Three hits were recorded directly at the station site,” the Ukrainian agency said, stating that one was “near one of the power units where the nuclear reactor is located.”
THE CNN failed to verify damage claims at the plant, which occupies a large site. Much of the recent Russian fire in the area originated near the plant and it is unclear whether parts of the nuclear facility were accidentally hit.
Energoatom said on Saturday that the plant was operational and that the station’s Ukrainian staff was continuing to work to ensure radiation safety.
Ukrainian prosecutors have opened an investigation into the incident.
Zaporizhia plant is “out of control”
The exact danger posed by the explosions around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant remains unclear.
The head of the International Agency for Atomic Energy (AIE), Rafael Grossi, said in an interview with the Associated Press on Tuesday that the situation at the plant was “completely out of control.”
“All nuclear safety principles have been violated,” he said, urging Russia and Ukraine to allow experts to visit the site. “The betting is extremely serious and extremely serious and dangerous.”
Other officials were more measured, pointing to the fact that recent nuclear power facilities are designed to withstand terrorist attacks and natural disasters.
Several Western and Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is now using the giant nuclear facility as a stronghold to protect its troops and carry out attacks, because they assume that Kiev will not retaliate and risk a crisis.
The Secretary of State for United States , Antony Blinken accused Moscow on Monday of using the plant to protect its forces, and Ukraine warned that bombing the complex could be disastrous.
“The possible consequences of hitting a working reactor are equivalent to using an atomic bomb,” Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry said on Twitter on Friday.
The UK said the actions at the complex had undermined the safety of the plant’s operations.
“Russian forces likely used the wider area of the facility, in particular the adjacent town of Enerhodar, to rest their forces, using the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk of Ukrainian attacks overnight to their equipment and personnel.” Britain’s Defense Ministry said in an intelligence update on Twitter on Friday.
The Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, Dmytro Orlov, said in late July that Russian forces had been observed using heavy weapons near the plant because “they know very well that the Armed Forces of Ukraine will not respond to these attacks as they could damage the nuclear power plant.” .
Source: CNN Brasil