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The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in March 2023 Alamy Stock Photo
War in Ukraine

IAEA warns about drone attacks on Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant

Russia has claimed Ukraine was behind the attacks, but Ukraine has today accused Moscow of spreading “fake” information.


RUSSIA HAS SAID that said that a Ukraine was behind a drone attack hit the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) urged restraint. 

However, Ukraine has today accused Moscow of spreading “fake” information over the attack. 

The head of Ukraine’s centre for countering disinformation, Lieutenant Andriy Kovalenko, said Russia was intensifying a “campaign of provocation and fakes” after it claimed that Ukrainian forces attacked the plant yesterday.

Russia is attacking the station “with drones, pretending that the threat to the plant and nuclear safety is coming from Ukraine,” Kovalenko said.

Kovalenko accused Russia of “manipulating the concerns of the IAEA” and “trying to accuse Ukraine of nuclear terrorism”.

The Zaporizhzhia atomic plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russian forces since the start of their 2022 Ukraine offensive.

It comes as Russian strikes on Ukraine’s southern Zaporizhzhia region have killed three people today, in a second day of deadly attacks on the area, its governor has said.

The strike on the rural area came a day after three people were killed in a Russian attack on the town of Gulyaipole.

“Three people were killed and three people were wounded in the Pologivskyi district” of Zaporizhzhia, Governor Ivan Federov said on social media.

He said Russian forces struck eight populated areas in Zaporizhzhia “357 times” over the last 24 hours.

Russia controls part of the Zaporizhzhia region and yesterday it claimed that Kyiv had attacked the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant with a drone.

“The Ukrainian Armed Forces attacked the dome of the sixth power unit of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP),” the Moscow-controlled management of the plant said on social media.

It said there was no radioactive release as a result of the attack.

Later yesterday, the IAEA said on X, formerly Twitter, that its experts had “confirmed physical impact of drone attacks at ZNPP today, including at one of its six reactors”.

IAEA head Rafael Grossi specified that “at least three direct hits against ZNPP main reactor containment structures took place”.

“This cannot happen. I firmly appeal to military decision makers to abstain from any action violating the basic principles that protect nuclear facilities,” Grossi stressed.

According to the IAEA, the damage at unit six had not compromised nuclear safety, but it warned that “this is a serious incident with potential to undermine (the) integrity of the reactor’s containment system”.

Russia’s nuclear agency ROSATOM urged the West and Grossi to “categorically condemn the attempt to escalate the situation around the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe”.

It said the drone hit the plant’s canteen, wounding three staff members, one of them “severely”.

The IAEA said last night that one casualty was reported.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dragged on for more than two years.

Includes reporting by © AFP 2024