Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, occupied by Russian troops and the target of recent bombings, was “completely” disconnected from the national power grid on Thursday, reported Ukraine’s energy operator, which blamed “the invaders” for this situation.
“The two reactors in operation at the plant were disconnected from the network. As a result, the attacker’s actions caused the total disconnection [da central de Zaporizhzhia] power grid for the first time in its history”, said operator Enerhoatom.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it had been “informed by Ukraine” about the loss of connection to the national grid, but indicated that the plant “remains connected” thanks to the nearby thermal power plant, which can provide emergency electricity. “We can’t waste any more time,” said Rafael Grossi, the entity’s director-general.
Russia has occupied the complex since the invasion of Ukrainian territory began in March. For Kiev, Moscow took over the nuclear plant to divert energy to the Crimean peninsula, annexed by the Russians in 2014.
In recent weeks, the sides have accused each other of bombing the plant, which has six reactors and a total capacity of 6,000 megawatts. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned on Thursday night of the danger of Russian actions at the plant. “Russia has put Ukrainians and all Europeans one step closer to nuclear disaster,” he said.
The United States, for its part, condemned Moscow’s actions, demanding the return of control of the plant to Kiev. “The electricity that [essa central] produces legitimately belongs to Ukraine and any attempt to disconnect the power plant from the Ukrainian power grid to direct it to occupied areas [pela Rússia] is unacceptable,” said Vedant Patel, the State Department spokesman.