Russia strikes Ukraine with biggest missile barrage in weeks
Russia on Thursday launched a massive attack against Ukraine, using kamikaze drones and a barrage of missiles, in the first major assault against Ukrainian energy and civil infrastructure in weeks.
Authorities in several regions across the Ukraine reported casualties and damage. Authorities reported emergency power shutdowns in several regions. Trains are delayed across the country.
The largest nuclear power plant in Europe — the Zaporizhzhia NPP in the occupied part of the Zaporizhzhia region — was completely cut off from the power grid after the attack, Ukrainian Energy Minister German Galushchenko said in a statement sent to the press.
As a result, officials said, the power station is de-energized and has been put into blackout mode for the sixth time since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion last February.
“Units five and six are being put into cold shutdown and 18 diesel generators have started operating to supply the plant’s in-house loads,” state atomic energy firm Enerhoatom reported. “There is 10 days’ fuel stock left for their operation. The countdown has begun.”
According to their statement, “if the off-site power supply to the plant cannot be restored within that time frame, an accident may occur having radiation consequences for the whole world.”
At a press briefing later Thursday, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said that the plant could survive for 15 days on diesel backups, but warned that these were the “last line of defense.” Experts have previously played down the risk of a global nuclear catastrophe at the plant, while urging the international community to act to avoid a localized disaster.
Ukraine, for its part, is sounding the alarm loudly
“The Russians are putting the world on the brink of a nuclear catastrophe. And this is the day after negotiations with the U.N. on the demilitarization of the plant,” Ukrainian minister Galushchenko added.
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