Russia’s Defense Ministry says its forces have destroyed a US-made M777 howitzer gun which Kiev forces had used on a daily basis to shell the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant located in southeastern Ukraine.
“During the last 24 hours, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was shelled twice by Ukrainian troops with large-caliber artillery pieces. As a result of the shelling, four munitions exploded in the area of the oxygen and nitrogen station, and one more in the area of the special building No. 1, ” Igor Konashenkov, an official representative of the Defense Ministry, said at a daily briefing on Friday.
Konashenkov noted that the Russian units managed to pinpoint and destroy the position of the US-made howitzer used by Ukrainian forces, from where the nuclear power plant came under artillery gunfire.
The Russian ministry spokesman added that the howitzer had been positioned west of the town of Marganets in Ukraine’s Dnipropetrovsk region.
Moscow has reprimanded Kiev for ordering Ukrainian forces to stage artillery attacks striking the nuclear power plant, describing the move as “nuclear terrorism.”
Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, came under Russian control in March, though it is still operated by Ukrainian technicians working for Energoatom.
The power plant remains near the frontline and has repeatedly come under fire in recent weeks. Russia and Moscow blame each other for attacking the plant.
It was disconnected from the Ukrainian grid for the first time in its history on Thursday after a fire caused by shelling damaged a power line.
The plant, which is now operating, used to generate more than 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply before the conflict broke out after Russia launched its “special military operation” in late February.
“The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station is connected to the grid and is producing electricity for the needs of Ukraine,” Energoatom said in a statement on Friday.
Meanwhile, Russia has warned the West against sending more weapons and ammunition to Ukraine amid heightened tensions, saying Washington is adding fuel to the fire.
Russian President Vladamir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said recently the Kremlin believes that the White House “is deliberately pouring oil on the fire” by sending more weapons to Ukraine and that the US is “obviously holding the line that it will fight Russia to the last Ukrainian.”
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