Russians likely targeted Khmelnytsky nuclear plant, says Zelensky

Europe

KYIVA: Russian drone attack on western Ukraine likely targeted a nuclear power plant, President Volodymyr Zelensky says. Iranian-designed Shahed drones struck the area around the power plant in the western Khmelnytsky region early on Wednesday, he said.

The attack injured 20 people and caused light damage, including broken windows.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the plant’s operations were unaffected. “Powerful explosions shook an area near Ukraine’s Khmelnytsky Nuclear Power Plant,” IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in a statement.

The blasts highlight “the dangers to nuclear safety” posed by the war, he added. The Khmelnytsky plant has two reactors. One is operating and one has been in planned outage since August.

Fears of fighting affecting a nuclear power plant have been omnipresent since Russia first invaded Ukraine in February 2022.

Russian forces have controlled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, in eastern Ukraine, since March 2022. Kyiv accuses Russia of shelling the plant and risking a radiation leak, behaviour it characterises as “nuclear terror”.

No serious accident has occurred since the full-scale invasion last year, however.__The Nation