Russia has been accused of firing missiles from Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, despite warnings that retaliation could cause a Chernobyl-style disaster.
Russian forces captured the Zaporizhzhya plant in early March in the initial stage of the war, although it is still managed by Ukrainian technicians.
It is now reported that heavy artillery is being used near Zaporizhzhya to blast missiles across the Dnieper River in southern Ukraine.
Although Russia has denied launching strikes from the station, reports from Ukraine indicate the appearance of military trucks entering and exiting the station.
Experts say it is “highly likely” that the trucks will unload ammunition.
This comes as the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency warned that the situation in Zaporizhia is “totally out of control” and is getting more and more dangerous every day.
Rafael Grossi said the “incomplete” communications from the Zaporizhzhya facility and his organization’s inability to visit the site were extremely worrying.
“What is at stake is very dangerous, very dangerous, very dangerous,” he said.
The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency stressed that the power plant was seeing “a list of things that should not happen in any nuclear facility”.
“And that is why I insisted from day one that we should be able to go there to do this safety and security assessment, make repairs and help like we already did at Chernobyl,” he said.
In addition to the strikes rumored to be launched from the station, the power station was also hit by attacks that both sides blamed on each other.
Ukraine’s state nuclear power company said Russian forces damaged three radiation sensors at the facility in renewed shelling on Saturday night, wounding a worker with shrapnel.
Energoatom said the latest Russian missile attack hit the station’s dry storage facility, where 174 containers of spent nuclear fuel were stored in the open air.
“As a result, timely detection and response in the event of a deterioration in the radiological situation or radiation leakage from spent nuclear fuel containers is not yet possible,” she added.
Meanwhile, Moscow said Ukraine had bombed the Russian administration in occupied Innerhodar, where factory employees live, using the Uragan 220mm multiple rocket launcher system.
Mr Grossi said Friday’s bombing demonstrated the risk of a nuclear disaster. Those shells hit a high-voltage power line, causing the plant’s operators to disconnect a reactor even though no radiation leak was detected.
“Russian nuclear terrorism requires a stronger response from the international community – sanctions against the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel,” Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky wrote on Twitter.