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Russia: Ukraine uses ‘kamikaze drones’ to hit Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

A Russian all-terrain armored vehicle parked outside the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is seen during the visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission in Ukraine on September 1, 2022. (File photo by Reuters)

Russia says Ukraine is using “kamikaze drones” to attack the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has recently been under constant strikes, despite potential catastrophic consequences.

In a statement on Sunday, Russia’s Defense Ministry said Ukrainian forces kept attacking the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia in southern Ukraine. The ministry said at least eight “kamikaze drones” had been used to hit the facility’s area.

Russian forces managed to shoot down all of the drones outside the territory of the plant, the ministry said.

“Attempts by the Armed Forces of Ukraine to strike at the territory of the [Zaporizhzhia] NPP with eight kamikaze drones were prevented. All Ukrainian unmanned aerial vehicles were shot down outside the territory of the nuclear plant,” said the official representative of the Russian Defense Ministry, Lieutenant-General Igor Konashenkov, in the statement, TASS reported.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. Russian forces seized the plant soon after Moscow launched its “special military operation” in the ex-Soviet country on February 24. Ukraine accuses Russia of storing heavy weapons in the plant. Moscow denies the allegation.

The plant has come under fire repeatedly in recent weeks, raising concerns of a potential Chernobyl-style nuclear incident. Both Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of targeting the facility.

Konashenkov also said radiation levels remain normal at Zaporizhzhia.

Despite the attacks, Ukrainian staff continue to operate the plant.

Russia, which took control of the plant in March, says its armed forces do not damage Ukraine’s nuclear safety in any way and cause no obstacles to the plant’s operation. It also took control of the Chernobyl plant, about 100 kilometers north of Kiev, which has been one of the most radioactive locations on earth since it saw an explosion in its fourth reactor in April 1986.

Since the onset of the conflict between the two countries, the United States and its European allies have unleashed an array of unprecedented sanctions against Russia and poured numerous batches of advanced weapons in Ukraine to help its military fend off the Russian troops, despite repeated warnings by the Kremlin that such measures will only prolong the war.

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