Ukraine has condemned a Russian missile attack near one of its power plants, which it has described as 'nuclear terrorism'.
The weapon struck around 330 yards away from the reactors at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province.
It left a hole six feet deep and 13 feet wide, the Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom said.
The reactors were operating normally and no employees were injured, it said, but the proximity of the strike renewed fears that Russia’s nearly seven-month war in Ukraine might produce a radiation disaster.
The nuclear power station is Ukraine’s second-largest after the Zaporizhzhia plant, which has repeatedly come under fire.
After recent battlefield setbacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened last week to step up attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure.
Throughout the war, Moscow has targeted Ukraine’s electricity generation and transmission equipment, causing blackouts and endangering the safety systems of the country’s nuclear power plants.
The industrial complex that includes the South Ukraine plant sits along the Southern Bug River about 190 miles south of the capital Kyiv.
The attack also caused the temporary shutdown of a nearby hydroelectric power plant, shattered more than 100 windows at the complex and severed three power lines, Ukrainian authorities said.
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Ukraine’s Defence Ministry released a black-and-white video showing two large fireballs erupting in the dark, followed by incandescent showers of sparks.
Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, since early after the invasion. Shelling has cut off the plant’s transmission lines, forcing operators to shut down its six reactors to avoid a radiation disaster. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the strikes.
The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has monitors at the Zaporizhzhia plant, said a main transmission line was reconnected on Friday, providing the electricity it needs to cool its reactors.
But the mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located, reported more Russian shelling on Monday in the city’s industrial zone.