Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant loses external power

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, which is surrounded by Russian troops, has lost all external power needed for vital safety systems for the second time in five days, the chief of the UN

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant, which is surrounded by Russian troops, has lost all external power needed for vital safety systems for the second time in five days, the chief said Wednesday. from the UN’s nuclear watchdog, calling it “a deeply worrying development”.

The warning from the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, came amid a flurry of developments in Russia’s War in Ukraine. Ukraine’s military command said its forces had taken over five settlements in the southern Kherson region, on the western outskirts of an area under Russian control, and Russia’s main internal security agency said eight people had been arrested in connection with the Crimean Bridge explosion over the weekend.

Grossi, who met Russian President Vladimir Putin on Tuesday, said agency controllers at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant – reported the external power cut and said that backup diesel generators kept nuclear safety and security equipment operational.

“This repeated loss of off-site power to #ZNPP is a deeply worrying development and underscores the urgent need for a nuclear protection and safety zone around the site,” Grossi tweeted.

Ukrainian state nuclear operator Energoatom said on the social media platform Telegram that a Russian missile attack on the “Dniprovska” substation in the neighboring Dnipropetrovsk region in the north damaged it, leading to the shutdown of a key communication line to the factory – prompting the diesel generators to ignite automatically.

Earlier Wednesday, Ukraine’s Southern Command said its forces had recaptured five settlements in the southern Kherson region, according to the Southern Operational Command.

The villages of Novovasylivka, Novohryhorivka, Nova Kamianka, Tryfonivka and Chervone in the Beryslav district were taken over on October 11, according to the chairman of the southern command Vladislav Nazarov.

The settlements are in one of the four regions recently annexed by Russia.

Also on Wednesday, Russia’s main internal security agency said it had arrested eight people accused of participating in the shelling of the main bridge linking Russia and Crimea, while an official in the southern city of Zaporizhzhia Ukraine, said Russian forces had carried out other strikes there.

The Federal Security Service, known by the Russian acronym FSB, said it arrested five Russians and three Ukrainian and Armenian citizens in Saturday’s attack that damaged the Kerch Bridge between Russia and the Crimean Peninsula – a Crucial supply and travel thoroughfare construction under Russian President Vladimir Putin cost billions.

A truck loaded with explosives exploded as it crossed the bridge, killing four people and causing two sections of one of the two car links to collapse.

Ukrainian officials welcomed the explosion at the bridge, but refrained from directly claiming responsibility.

The FSB, the main successor agency to the KGB, alleged that the suspects were working on orders from Ukrainian military intelligence to secretly move the explosives to Russia and falsify accompanying documents.

He said the explosives were transported by sea from the Ukrainian port of Odessa to Bulgaria before being shipped to Georgia, driven to Armenia and then back to Georgia before being transported to Russia as part of a complex plan to secretly deliver them to the target.

Putin alleged that Ukrainian special services orchestrated the explosion, calling it an “act of terrorism”, and responded by ordering a barrage of missile strikes on Ukraine.

Russia’s assault continued Wednesday in the Zaporizhzhia region and the eponymous city, smashing windows and blowing out doors in residential buildings, city council secretary Anatoliy Kurtev said. There were no immediate reports of casualties, although Kurtev warned residents of the possibility of a follow-up attack.

Zaporizhzhia, which sits fairly close to the front line between Russian and Ukrainian forces, has been repeatedly hit by often deadly attacks in recent weeks. It is part of a larger region, including Europe’s largest nuclear power plant now under Russian control, which Moscow said it annexed in violation of international law. The city itself remains in Ukrainian hands.

To the south, in an area of ​​the region under Russian control, a powerful explosion hit the town of Melitopol, sending a car flying through the air, Mayor Ivan Fedorov said. There was no word on the casualties.

The new clashes came two days after Russian forces began hitting many parts of Ukraine with more missiles and ammunition-carrying drones, killing at least 19 people on Monday alone in an attack that the office of UN human rights law has called it “particularly shocking” and tantamount to potential war crimes.

Tuesday marked the second day in a row that air raid sirens sounded across Ukraine, and officials advised residents to conserve energy and stock up on water. The strikes knocked out power across the country and disrupted the relative calm that had returned to the capital, Kyiv, and many other towns far from the frontlines of the war.

“It brings anger, not fear,” Kyiv resident Volodymyr Vasylenko, 67, said as teams worked to restore traffic lights and clear debris from streets in the capital. . “We are already used to this. And we will continue to fight.

Leaders of the Group of Seven industrial powers condemned the bombing and said they “will stand firmly with Ukraine for as long as it takes”. Their pledge defied Russian warnings that Western aid would prolong the war and the pain of the Ukrainian people.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy told G-7 leaders during a virtual meeting that Russia had fired more than 100 missiles and dozens of drones at Ukraine in two days. He called for “more modern and efficient” air defense systems – although he said Ukraine had shot down many Russian projectiles.

The Pentagon announced on Tuesday its intention to deliver the first two advanced NASAM anti-aircraft systems to Ukraine in the coming weeks. The systems, which Kyiv has long wanted, will provide medium and long-range defense against missile attacks.

In a phone call with Zelenskyy on Tuesday, President Joe Biden “committed to continuing to provide Ukraine with the support needed to defend itself, including advanced air defense systems,” the White House said.

Ukraine’s defense minister tweeted that four German IRIS-T air defense systems had just arrived, saying a “new era” of air defense for Ukraine had begun.


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Adam Schreck and Hanna Arhirova, The Associated Press

Carol N. Valencia