According to the operator, there is a risk of radioactivity escaping at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian troops.
The Russian military fired on the plant “several times”, said the Ukrainian state-owned energy company Enerhoatom on Saturday. The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyj also warned of a renewed emergency.
According to Enerhoatom, the infrastructure of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe was damaged by the shelling. According to the operator, around noon the nuclear power plant “Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant” was running “with the risk of violating radioactivity and fire protection standards”. For a few weeks now, the area around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant and parts of the factory premises have been repeatedly shelled, with Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for this.
Moscow: Ukrainian army responsible for shelling
Russia’s Defense Ministry announced on Saturday that Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant had been shelled three times by Ukrainian artillery within 24 hours. Four projectiles hit the roof of a facility that stores nuclear fuel from the US company Westinghouse, said ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov in Moscow.
This could not be verified by an independent party. The spokesman also said that other projectiles fell near storage facilities with fuel rods and radioactive waste. However, the radiation situation is still within the normal range.
“Technical personnel are responsible for checking the technical condition of the nuclear power plant and ensuring its operation,” said Konashenkov. He reiterated that Russian forces were guarding the facility but had no heavy weapons nearby.
Temporary emergency shutdown
Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant was only reconnected to the Ukrainian power grid on Friday after a one-day interruption. According to Ukrainian information, the nuclear power plant had previously been completely disconnected from the power grid for the first time in its history as a result of Russian attacks.
According to both sides, the reason for the emergency shutdown of two reactors was a damaged high-voltage line. Ukraine cited Russian artillery shelling as the cause. The occupiers spoke of a fire as the trigger for a short circuit. They did not say what caused the fire. With a total of six blocks, Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. In March it was captured by Russian troops.
The Ukrainian President Zelenskyj also warned of further emergencies. “I would like to emphasize that the situation remains very risky and dangerous,” Zelenskyj said in a video speech on Saturday night. Zelenskyy reiterated his demand for an early visit by international experts and for the withdrawal of Russian troops from the nuclear power plant site “Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant”.
London: Increased Russian attacks in the east
According to British information, the Russian army has intensified its attacks in eastern Ukraine again. In the past five days, the intensity of Russian attacks near the city of Donetsk has increased, the Ministry of Defense reported in London on Saturday. With the attacks, the Russian troops probably wanted to tie up additional Ukrainian troops in the east in order to complicate an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive in the south of the country, it said, citing intelligence findings.
There was heavy fighting near the cities of Siwersk and Bakhmut north of Donetsk. Troops of the Moscow-loyal separatists are believed to have advanced further into the center of the village of Pisky near the destroyed Donetsk airport, it said. Overall, however, the Russian units only gained a little ground.
Zelenskyj: One million tons of food exported
According to Zelenskyy, Ukraine has exported a total of one million tons of agricultural products through its Black Sea ports since the conclusion of an agreement mediated by Turkey and the UN. 44 ships left for 15 countries, said Zelenskyj. The goal of his government is to export three million tons per month.
Meanwhile, Britain is providing six underwater drones to the Ukrainian armed forces to remove sea mines off the Ukrainian coast. The Ministry of Defense announced that Ukrainian personnel are being trained on the devices in Great Britain. The step should also help to make the journey for grain freighters safer.
Medvedev ready to talk “under conditions”.
Meanwhile, Russia’s ex-president Dmitry Medvedev says the Russian government is ready for talks with Ukrainian President Zelenskyy “under certain conditions”. According to Russian news agencies, Medvedev said this on the French television channel LCI without giving any specific details.
However, Russia will continue its “military special operation” (Russia’s term for its war of aggression) until it achieves its goals, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council affirmed.
Procedure “maximum gentle and moderate”
However, according to Medvedev, even an official no by Ukraine to NATO membership would not end the war in Ukraine. “Resigning from joining the North Atlantic Alliance is absolutely crucial now, but not enough to bring about peace,” he said, justifying Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine.
“A special military operation is being carried out so that there will be no third world war,” said Medvedev in the quarter-hour conversation, calling the procedure in Ukraine “maximum gentle and moderate”. Source ORF