Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant rocked by ‘powerful explosions,’ UN nuclear agency says

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Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the surrounding area was rocked by “powerful explosions” on Sunday, the International Atomic Energy Agency said. 

The shelling caused damage to buildings and equipment at the facility, the largest nuclear plant in Europe, but no casualties were reported, according to plant management. 

“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely disturbing,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said Sunday. 

“Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable. Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”

A Russian all-terrain armoured vehicle is parked outside the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during the visit of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expert mission.
(REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko/File Photo)

Russia and Ukraine once again traded blame for the attacks. Ukrainian state nuclear operator Energoatom accused Russia of trying “to damage or destroy as much of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure as possible” ahead of winter, while Russia accused Ukrainian forces of shelling power lines that supply the plant with electricity. 

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Russia has occupied the facility since the early days of the war, though it is still operated by a Ukrainian staff. 

A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuer attends an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city.

A Ukrainian Emergency Ministry rescuer attends an exercise in the city of Zaporizhzhia on August 17, 2022, in case of a possible nuclear incident at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant located near the city.
(DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that Russian forces also shelled civilian infrastructure in the Zaporizhzhia region on Sunday, destroying 30 homes. 

In Kherson, roughly 120 miles southwest of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, an oil depot was struck by two Russian missiles on Saturday, igniting a huge fire. The southern city, which was recently retaken by Ukrainian forces, was also struck by tank shells and other artillery. 

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past a building of a kindergarten damaged during a Russian missile attack in the village of Novooleksandrivka, in Kherson region, Ukraine.

A Ukrainian serviceman walks past a building of a kindergarten damaged during a Russian missile attack in the village of Novooleksandrivka, in Kherson region, Ukraine.
(REUTERS/Valentyn Ogirenko)

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Zelenskyy said that scheduled power outages would also take place in 15 regions and the capital of Kyiv on Monday. 

“Restoration of networks and technical supply capabilities, demining of power transmission lines, repairs – everything goes on round the clock,” Zelenskyy said in his nightly address on Sunday. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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