RUSSIA INVADES UKRAINE

Ukraine warns of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after strike near plant

Sep 19, 2022, 1:50 PM
SCHWECHAT, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 02: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafae...
SCHWECHAT, AUSTRIA - SEPTEMBER 02: International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi speaks to the media at Vienna International Airport upon his return from inspecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on September 2, 2022 in Schwechat, Austria. Grossi and 13 of his colleagues inspected the plant that is on the frontline of the ongoing Russian war in Ukraine. (Photo by Heinz-Peter Bader/Getty Images)
(Photo by Heinz-Peter Bader/Getty Images)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile blasted a crater close to a nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine on Monday, damaging nearby industrial equipment but not hitting its three reactors. Ukrainian authorities denounced the move as an act of “nuclear terrorism.”

The missile struck within 300 meters (328 yards) of the reactors at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant near the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk in Mykolaiv province, leaving a hole 2 meters (6 1/2 feet) deep and 4 meters (13 feet) wide, according to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom.

The reactors were operating normally and no employees were injured, it said. But the proximity of the strike renewed fears that Russia’s nearly 7-month-long war in Ukraine might produce a radiation disaster.

This nuclear power station is Ukraine’s second-largest after the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which has repeatedly come under fire.

Following recent battlefield setbacks, Russian President Vladimir Putin threatened last week to step up Russian attacks on Ukrainian infrastructure. Throughout the war, Russia has targeted Ukraine’s electricity generation and transmission equipment, causing blackouts and endangering the safety systems of the country’s nuclear power plants.

UN nuclear agency team arrives at Ukraine power plant

The industrial complex that includes the South Ukraine plant sits along the Southern Bug River about 300 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital, Kyiv. The attack also caused the temporary shutdown of a nearby hydroelectric power plant, shattered more than 100 windows at the complex and severed three power lines, Ukrainian authorities said.

Ukraine’s Defense Ministry released a black-and-white video showing two large fireballs erupting one after the other in the dark, followed by incandescent showers of sparks, at 19 minutes after midnight. The ministry and Energoatom called the strike “nuclear terrorism.”

The Russian Defense Ministry and the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, did not immediately comment on the attack.

Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, since early after the invasion. Shelling has cut off the plant’s transmission lines, forcing operators to shut down its six reactors to avoid a radiation disaster. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the strikes.

The IAEA, which has stationed monitors at the Zaporizhzhia plant, said a main transmission line was reconnected Friday, providing the electricity it needs to cool its reactors.

But the mayor of Enerhodar, where the Zaporizhzhia plant is located, reported more Russian shelling Monday in the city’s industrial zone.

While warning Friday of a possible ramp-up of strikes, Putin claimed his forces had so far acted with restraint but warned “if the situation develops this way, our response will be more serious.”

“Just recently, the Russian armed forces have delivered a couple of impactful strikes,” he said. ”Let’s consider those as warning strikes.”

The latest Russian shelling killed at least eight civilians and wounded 22 others, Ukraine’s presidential office said Monday. The governor of the northeastern Kharkiv region, which is now largely back in Ukrainian hands, said Russian shelling killed four medical workers trying to evacuate patients from a psychiatric hospital and wounded two patients.

Fire breaks out at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, mayor says

The mayor of the Russian-occupied eastern city of Donetsk, meanwhile, said shelling by Ukrainian forces had killed 13 civilians and wounded eight there.

Patricia Lewis, the international security research director at the Chatham House think-tank in London, said attacks at the Zaporizhzhia plant and Monday’s strike on the South Ukraine plant indicated that the Russian military was attempting to knock Ukrainian nuclear plants offline before winter.

“It’s a very, very dangerous and illegal act to be targeting a nuclear station,” Lewis told The Associated Press. “Only the generals will know the intent, but there’s clearly a pattern.”

“What they seem to be doing each time is to try to cut off the power to the reactor,” she said. “It’s a very clumsy way to do it, because how accurate are these missiles?”

Power is needed to run pumps that circulate cooling water to the reactors, preventing overheating and — in a worst-case scenario — a radiation-spewing nuclear fuel meltdown.

Other recent Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure have targeted power plants in the north and a dam in the south. They came in response to a sweeping Ukrainian counterattack in the country’s east that reclaimed Russia-occupied territory in the Kharkiv region.

Analysts have noted that beyond recapturing territory, challenges remain in holding it. In a video address Monday, Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelenskyy said cryptically of that effort, “I cannot reveal all the details, but thanks to the Security Service of Ukraine, we are now confident that the occupiers will not have any foothold on Ukrainian soil.”

The Ukrainian successes in Kharkiv — Russia’s biggest defeat since its forces were repelled from around Kyiv in the invasion’s opening stage — have fueled rare public criticism in Russia and added to the military and diplomatic pressure on Putin. The Kremlin’s nationalist critics have questioned why Moscow has failed to plunge Ukraine into darkness yet by hitting all of its major nuclear power plants.

In other developments:

  • A governor said Ukraine had recaptured the village of Bilogorivka in the Russian-occupied eastern region of Luhansk. Russia didn’t acknowledge the claim. The Russian-installed leaders of
  • Ukraine’s Luhansk, Donetsk and Kherson regions reiterated calls Monday for referendums to be held to tie their areas formally to Russia. These officials have discussed such plans before but the referendums have been repeatedly delayed, possibly because of insufficient popular support.
  • The Supreme Court in the Russian-occupied region of Luhansk convicted a former interpreter for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe and another person whose duties were not specified of high treason Monday. Both were sentenced to 13 years in prison.
  • The Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania closed their borders Monday to most Russian citizens in response to domestic support in Russia for the war in Ukraine. Poland will join the ban on Sept. 26.
  • Iconic singer Alla Pugacheva became the most prominent Russian celebrity to criticize the war, describing Russia in an Instagram post Sunday as “a pariah” and saying its soldiers were dying for “illusory goals.” Valery Fadeyev, head of the Russian president’s Human Rights Council, accused Pugacheva of speaking falsely.

___

AP journalist John Leicester in Le Pecq, France, contributed.

___

Follow AP war coverage at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Russia invades Ukraine

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - FEBRUARY 11: Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar speaks with col...
MALLIKA SEN, Associated Press

India stays neutral on Ukraine war, previews G-20 term at UN

India’s foreign minister laid out the country’s plans for its turn at the G-20 presidency during the U.N General Assembly.
17 hours ago
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 23: Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern speaks at the 77th ...
JENNIFER PELTZ, Associated Press

As Ukraine worries UN, some leaders rue what’s pushed aside

In speech after speech, world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly are spotlighting Russia’s war in Ukraine.
17 hours ago
In an aerial view, a woman walks by a destroyed building on September 23, 2022 in Izium, Ukraine. I...
KHALIL HAMRA and MEHMET GUZEL, Associated Press

Russian men join exodus, fearing call-up to fight in Ukraine

Military-aged men have joined an exodus from Russia on the second full day of a partial military mobilization.
2 days ago
An aerial view of the destruction of residential buildings on Sept. 20, 2022, in Izium, Ukraine. Iz...
Associated Press

UN rights experts present evidence of war crimes in Ukraine

A team of experts commissioned by the U.N.’s top human rights body to look into rights violations in Ukraine says its initial investigation has turned up evidence of war crimes in the country.
2 days ago
Destruction of various buildings is seen from an aerial perspective on September 21, 2022 in Izium,...
HANNA ARHIROVA, Associated Press

No letup in fighting as missile strikes keep hitting Ukraine

Russian and Ukrainian forces exchanged missile and artillery barrages on Thursday as both sides refused to concede ground despite recent military setbacks for Moscow and the toll on the invaded country after almost seven months of war.
3 days ago
FILE - Russias President Vladimir Putin holds a video conference to address participants in a congr...
KARL RITTER, Associated Press

Putin orders partial military call-up, sparking protests

Russian President Vladimir Putin has ordered a partial mobilization of reservists in Russia, effective immediately.
4 days ago

Sponsored Articles

young woman with stickers on laptop computer...
Les Olson

7 ways print marketing materials can boost your business

Custom print marketing materials are a great way to leave an impression on clients or customers. Read for a few ideas to spread the word about your product or company.
young woman throwing clothes to organize a walk in closet...
Lighting Design

How to organize your walk-in closet | 7 easy tips to streamline your storage today

Read our tips to learn how to organize your walk-in closet for more storage space. These seven easy tips can help you get the most out of your space.
Types of Computer Malware and Examples...
PC Laptops

5 Nasty Types of Computer Malware and Examples | Everything You Need to Know to Keep Your Computer and Family Safe

Here are the different types of computer malware and examples that could potentially infect your computer.
tips how to quit smoking...

7 Tips How to Quit Smoking | Quitting Smoking Might be One of the Hardest Things You Ever Do but Here’s Where You Can Start

Quitting smoking cigarettes can be incredibly difficult. Here are 7 tips how to quit smoking to help you on your quitting journey.
Photo: Storyblocks...
Blue Stakes of Utah 811

Blue Stakes of Utah 811: 5 Reasons To Call 811 Before You Dig When Working in Your Yard

Call before you dig. Even at home, you could end up with serious injuries or broken utilities just because you didn't call Blue Stakes of Utah 811.
Days of...
Days of '47 Rodeo

TRIVIA: How well do you know your rodeo? Take this quiz before you go to the Days of ’47!

The Utah Days of ’47 Rodeo presented by Zions Bank is a one-of-a-kind Gold Medal Rodeo being held July 20-23, 25 at 7:30 PM. The Days of ’47 Rodeo How well do you know your rodeo trivia? Take the quiz to test your know-all before heading out to the Days of ’47 Rodeo at the […]
Ukraine warns of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after strike near plant