US involved in Ukrainian strikes on nuclear plant – Moscow
Washington has been supplying Kiev with crucial intelligence to designate targets for shelling around the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the head of Russia’s Security Council Nikolay Patrushev has claimed.
Speaking at a security meeting on Monday, Patrushev said there was a “serious threat” to radiation safety posed by Kiev’s shelling. He insisted that attacks near the plant are carried out using NATO-supplied weapons while Washington is providing Ukraine’s forces with the targets.
The security official noted that the continued firing around the ZNPP could lead to an unprecedented nuclear disaster.
“The consequences of these provocations could be very catastrophic not only for the majority of the population of Ukraine and Russia but also for Europe, and in terms of their scale they could surpass the tragedies that occurred at the nuclear power plants in Chernobyl and Fukushima,” Patrushev warned.
According to a Sunday report from Russia’s Defense Ministry, Kiev’s forces have carried out a total of 26 separate attacks on the nuclear power plant, as well as the nearby city of Energodar, since September 1. Ministry spokesperson Igor Konashenkov reported that the city and nearby areas have lost electricity as a result of the attacks.
On Sunday, the last working power unit at the ZNPP was switched off and the plant has stopped producing electricity. The decision to shut the station down was made due to continued shelling of the plant and subsequent damage to the power lines, local officials said.
According to Vladimir Rogov, a member of the pro-Russian Zaporozhye Region administration, the constantly changing mode in which the reactors and turbines were forced to operate because of the attacks created the risk of a nuclear accident.
The largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the ZNPP has been controlled by Russian forces since March, but continued to be operated by Ukrainian staff. The facility has sustained multiple missile and artillery strikes in recent weeks.
Moscow blames Ukrainian forces for the attacks. Kiev, however, has shrugged off the accusations and claims that Russia has turned the plant into a military base and that it is shelling the facility itself in order to paint the Ukrainian government in a bad light.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), whose inspectors visited the plant in early September, has demanded that all attacks on the plant “be stopped immediately,” but refrained from identifying the party responsible for them.