Zaporizhzhia/Moscow: Russia and Ukraine have begun a heated exchange of accusations over the attacks at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Ukraine has claimed that the attacks on the project are being carried out solely by Russia and amount to nuclear blackmail. On the other hand, Russia has held the Western countries responsible for supporting Ukraine and urged them to admonish Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has warned that the plant is under threat since attacks have been launched in the vicinity of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant for the last two days.
Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is recognised as the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. The capacity of this project is about 6000 MW. Russian forces seized the project within days of launching an invasion of Ukraine in February. Since then, Russia has deployed a large number of troops to secure the plant. The Ukrainian military launched a counter-offensive campaign against Russian-held areas a few months ago and began efforts to seize the plant. For this, drone attacks were launched, and special strike teams were also sent. However, Russia has maintained its grip on the project and started efforts to connect it to the Russian power grid.
Ukraine is accusing Russia of attacks due to its failure to take over the nuclear plant. Taking serious cognisance into Ukraine’s allegations, the international community has deployed a team of the IAEA to the plant. But even after that, the attacks in the last few days show that the spate of attacks on it continues. Ukraine has once again blamed Russia for this and accused it of ‘nuclear blackmail’. However, Russia denied these allegations and accused Ukraine of carrying out the activities. Due to the attacks in the last two days, some buildings in the plant were damaged, and some areas were also on fire, Russia said. The Russian officials have said the reactor’s cooling system, as well as a stockpile of radioactive waste, were targeted. The IAEA has claimed that at least ten major explosions occurred in the plant vicinity. Russia has expressed deep concern over these attacks and urged the international community supporting Ukraine to admonish the Ukrainian regime and the military.
“Whoever is attacking the project should stop it immediately. Those attacking the nuclear project are playing with fire,’ IAEA head Raphael Grossi warned. At this time, Grossi also demanded that the military and related deployments be withdrawn immediately from the nuclear plant and its vicinity.