Ukraine again denies Russian claims it attacked Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during an International Atomic Energy Agency visit in June. Photo: EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant during an International Atomic Energy Agency visit in June. Photo: EPA-EFE/SERGEI ILNITSKY

Ukraine has denied Russian accusations that it attacked the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Russian-occupied southeastern Ukraine for a third consecutive day on Tuesday, saying that the latest drone strike on the facility had been a Russian false flag operation designed to implicate Kyiv.

Responding to claims by the plant’s Russian-installed management that a Ukrainian drone had hit the roof of the plant’s training centre, which houses “the world’s only full-scale reactor hall simulator”, Ukraine’s military intelligence head Andriy Yusov said on Tuesday that Ukraine’s position was “clear and unambiguous” and that it did not conduct “any military actions or provocations against nuclear facilities”.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that reports of an explosion at the plant were “consistent with” the observations of an IAEA team at the site. It added that while there was “no direct threat to nuclear safety” following the alleged attack, the targeting of a nuclear facility was nevertheless an “extremely serious situation”.

“Whoever is behind [the attacks], they are playing with fire”, IAEA head Rafael Grossi said in a statement, adding that the plant management had not permitted the on-site IAEA team to assess the damage from the latest strike due to “military security”.

The IAEA’s board of governors is due to hold an emergency meeting on Thursday at the request of both Russia and Ukraine to discuss the worsening security situation at the plant, Reuters reported.

The plant, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power facility, is located in Ukraine’s southeastern Zaporizhzhia region and has been under Russian control since March 2022. This week’s strikes — the first attacks on the plant since November 2022 — drew the condemnation of the IAEA, which said they represented the “first clear violation of the five concrete principles for protecting the facility” outlined by the agency at the UN Security Council in May.

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