GENEVA (dpa-AFX) – According to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), there have been several strong explosions at the Ukrainian Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. IAEA experts on site reported dozens of impacts near and on the site of Europe’s largest nuclear facility, the authority said on Sunday. The incidents on Saturday and Sunday abruptly ended a period of relative calm at the Russian-held facility, Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.
IAEA experts saw some of the explosions from their windows. The management of the facility reported damage to some buildings, systems and equipment. So far, however, the damage has not affected nuclear safety. There were no injuries.
Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of massive artillery shelling of the nuclear power plant since Saturday. On Sunday morning alone, twelve large-caliber projectiles were aimed at the facility, said Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov, according to Russian news agencies. Eleven projectiles fell between the reactor blocks, one hit the roof of a special station. The radiation in the vicinity of the nuclear power plant is normal, said Konashenkov.
The Ukrainian power plant operator Enerhoatom spoke of at least twelve attacks by the Russian side, which damaged several infrastructure systems of the nuclear power plant. The extent of the damage and destruction is still being determined, according to a message from Enerhoatom published on Telegram.
“Whoever is behind it: It has to stop immediately,” demanded IAEA boss Grossi. “As I have often said: you are playing with fire!” Grossi again appealed to both sides to set up a security zone around the facility in which attacks and fights are avoided. Unfortunately, intensive negotiations on this with both sides have not yet led to an agreement.
Russia has effectively controlled Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since the beginning of March, when Moscow’s troops occupied large parts of southern Ukraine as part of the war of aggression. The nuclear power plant has come under fire several times during heavy fighting in recent months. Ukraine and Russia blame each other./oe/DP/he