Russian special services have thwarted a “terrorist attack” by Ukraine on Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, a senior Russian official says.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev made the claim on Thursday. He did not provide any details.
Ukrainian forces “continue to shell the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with Western weapons, which could lead to a global catastrophe,” Patrushev added.
After sending a team to the nuclear plant, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in September called for “the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone,” citing extensive damage at the site amid fighting between Ukraine and Russia.
Ukrainian nuclear energy company, Energoatom, said on Thursday that Russian shelling had damaged high-voltage lines connecting the plant to the Ukrainian grid, leaving it reliant on diesel generators. The power plant has 15 days’ of fuel to run the generators, Energoatom said. Blocks 5 and 6 at the plant are being switched into cold state, he added.
Throughout the Russian war on Ukraine, the two sides have been blaming each other for shelling at the plant.
Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. Russian forces seized the plant soon after the invasion of Ukraine, what Moscow has been calling “a special military operation,” on February 24. Ukraine accuses Russia of storing heavy weapons in the plant. Moscow denies the allegation.
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.
Since the onset of the conflict between the two countries, the United States and its European allies have imposed an array of sanctions on Russia and sent numerous batches of advanced weapons to Ukraine.