Ukraine says Russian missile hit near nuclear power plant

A Russian missile strike struck a facility near a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday, not damaging its reactors but damaging other industrial equipment in what the country’s atomic energy operator denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism”.

Energoatom, which operates Ukraine’s nuclear power plants, said the strike hit an industrial complex that includes the Pivdennukrainsk nuclear power plant in the southern Mykolaiv region early on Monday.

Energoatom said the missile hit just 300 meters (yards) from the plant, causing an explosion that shattered more than 100 windows on buildings in the complex.

The attack also caused the temporary shutdown of a nearby hydroelectric plant, but did not affect the nuclear plant’s reactors, Energoatom said, calling the strike an act of “nuclear terrorism”.

The Russian Defense Ministry had no immediate comment on the attack.

The Pivdennukrainsk power plant, also known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant, lies along the Southern Bug River and is about 300 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital, Kyiv. It is the second largest nuclear power plant in Ukraine with three reactors.

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the invasion and has repeatedly come under fire that has cut its transmission lines and eventually forced operators to shut down to avoid a radioactive catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine swapped responsibility for the bombings.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, the United Nations nuclear watchdog, which has monitors at the Zaporizhzhia plant, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the attack.

Image: AP

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Christi C. Elwood