The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has been hit by Russian artillery fire, according to Ukrainian sources.
A fire reportedly broke out at the station following the shelling, but the damage to the facilities is apparently not major, according to Ukrainian and UN nuclear authorities.
The UN’s nuclear safety branch, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the bombardment and resulting fire had not damaged any essential equipment, and that radiation levels had not increased.
Ukraine has accused Russian troops of shelling the power station, with President Zelensky accusing Putin of wanting a repeat of Chernobyl, saying:
“If there is an explosion, it is the end of everything. The end of Europe.”
Boris Johnson called the shelling a “reckless act” that could “directly threaten the safety of all of Europe.
Russian officials accused Ukraine of carrying out a horrible provocation. Major General Igor Konashenkov said:
“Last night, an attempt to carry out a horrible provocation was made by Kiev’s nationalist regime on the area surrounding the station”
Konashenkov accused Ukrainian soldiers of attacking Russian troops patrolling around the station in order to “provoke a retaliatory strike on the building”.
President Zelensky denied the Russian claims.
The power station provides around a quarter of Ukraine’s electricity, with some proposing that the Russian army may be attempting to cut off the country’s power. However, Russia captured the power plant on Monday and has been patrolling around it since, as well as letting Ukrainian firefighters through to combat the blaze, so this seems unlikely.
Russia has however cut off the electricity from some cities that it is attempting to capture, such as Mariupol which is reportedly completely surrounded and cut off from access to electricity and water supplies.