June 4, 2023

Russian troops fired missiles and artillery from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant across a river to Ukrainian-controlled areas over fears that fighting around the plant could spark a radiation leak or even a bigger disaster, officials said on Saturday.

As concerns persist over the safety of the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Ukrainian Dnepropetrovsk region governor Valentin Reznichenko said in a telegram that Göhler missiles and artillery shells hit Nikopol and the city of Mahanec, both across the Dnieper River, about 6 miles from the facility.

After power lines in Nikopol were damaged, “nearly 5,000 homes were without power,” Reznichenko said, adding that houses and educational centers were also affected.

Meanwhile, in a message on its Telegram channel on Saturday, the Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukrainian artillery units of shelling the area around the facility three times in the past 24 hours. The post said Ukrainian troops hit the roof of a building containing nuclear fuel.

Both sides have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the complex in southeastern Ukraine, raising fears that the fighting could lead to disaster.

NBC News could not independently verify both claims after Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned in a late-night video address that conditions around the plant remained “very dangerous and dangerous.”

On Thursday, the facility was temporarily disconnected from the national grid for the first time in its 40-year history, fueling fears of a nuclear disaster that still plagues the country after the 1986 Chernobyl explosion.

Exactly what went wrong on Thursday was unclear, but Zelensky said that “any action by Russia that could trigger the shutdown of the reactor will once again keep the plant out of disaster.”

The plant was seized by Russian troops in March and is still operated by Ukrainian technicians from Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom.

For months, the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency has been warning of the risks posed by conflict and has tried to send a team to inspect and help protect the plant. Officials told The Associated Press that preparations for the visit were underway, but it was unclear when.

Ukraine and its international allies, including the United Stateshas been urging Russia to hand over control of the plant.

Ukraine Russian military operations nuclear power plant
The first reactor of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant on Tuesday.Konstantin Mihalchevskiy / Sputnik via AP

Ukrainian authorities began distributing iodine tablets to residents near the facility on Friday as safety concerns persisted.

Volodymyr Marchuk, a spokesman for the Zaporozhye Regional Military Administration, told NBC News that the pills were being distributed to people living within a 50-kilometer (30-mile) radius of the Enerhodar factory.

Recipients were instructed not to take prophylactically, he said, adding that they were “distributing them in case of any future radiation leaks, when the government would instruct people to take these pills.”

Potassium iodide tablets block a radioactive substance and are used in nuclear emergencies to help protect the thyroid, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Earlier this week, authorities in the region also began developing contingency plans to evacuate civilians in the event of a disaster.

Elsewhere in Ukraine, Russia opened fire in the Mykolaiv region, killing one person and wounding another, local government officials said. The city of Nikolayev is an important port and shipbuilding center on the Black Sea.

Russia opened fire on the city of Bakhmut, which is part of an attempt by Russia and separatist forces to gain control of the region, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said on Saturday. important goals of the region. Not yet held.

Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *