Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News – The New York Times

Credit score…Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters

Ukraine accused Russian forces on Sunday of firing rockets that landed on the grounds of a nuclear energy plant that Russia has seized within the south of the nation, additional elevating the chance of an accident at a fancy the place the United Nations’ nuclear company has stated that the rules of nuclear security have been violated. A professional-Russian regional official blamed Ukrainian forces for the assault.

The rockets fired Saturday night landed close to a dry spent gasoline storage facility, the place 174 casks are saved, every containing 24 assemblies of spent nuclear gasoline, in keeping with Enerhoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear vitality firm. One particular person was wounded by shrapnel and lots of home windows have been broken.

“Apparently, they aimed specifically at the casks with spent fuel, which are stored in the open near the site of shelling,” the corporate stated in a publish on the Telegram social messaging app.

Three radiation detection screens have been broken so “timely detection and response in case of aggravation of the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from spent nuclear fuel casks are currently impossible,” the publish stated, including {that a} disaster was “miraculously avoided.”

Russian forces have managed the Zaporizhzhia plant since March. A consultant of Ukraine’s army intelligence directorate, Andrei Yusov, stated that Russia was shelling the positioning to destroy infrastructure and injury energy traces that offer electrical energy to Ukraine’s nationwide grid and, finally, to trigger an influence blackout within the south of the nation. There was no impartial affirmation of the assertion.

The head of the pro-Russian administration in Zaporizhzhia, Yevgeny Balitsky, stated on Telegram on Sunday that Ukrainian forces had used an Uragan cluster rocket to focus on the spent gasoline storage space and injury administrative buildings. On Thursday, Russia’s protection ministry stated that Ukraine had launched an artillery strike in opposition to the plant.

Throughout a nationwide tv phone-in present on Sunday, the top of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia regional army administration, Oleksandr Starukh, stated that there was solely a three-second delay between the firing and the touchdown of every shell, utilizing this as proof that the assault had come from Russian forces close by.

Since invading Ukraine in February, Russia has made it a precedence to grab important infrastructure together with energy crops, ports, transportation, and agricultural storage and manufacturing amenities. It has additionally focused infrastructure in Ukrainian palms.

In an earlier publish, Enerhoatom stated that Russian shellfire had broken a nitrogen-oxygen unit and the mixed auxiliary constructing. “There are still risks of hydrogen leakage and sputtering of radioactive substances, and the fire hazard is also high,” the publish stated.

Mr. Yusov additionally stated on Telegram that Russian forces had laid mines on the plant’s energy items.

Concern about security at Zaporizhzhia has been mounting since March when a fireplace broke out in a constructing throughout preventing as Russian forces took management. The Ukrainian authorities say that Russian forces have since saved weapons together with artillery on the plant and in current weeks started shelling Nikopol, a close-by metropolis held by Ukraine, from positions on its grounds.

President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine stated in a speech late on Saturday that there had been “significant worsening of the situation around the plant,” and added that Russia has change into the primary nation on this planet “to use a nuclear plant for terror.” On Sunday, he spoke with the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and stated in a tweet that he had referred to as for a stronger worldwide response in opposition to Russia’s “nuclear terror.”

The prospect of a Ukrainian counteroffensive to reclaim land in Kherson Province, which is southwest of Zaporizhzhia, additionally heightens instability. Ukraine was the positioning of the world’s worst nuclear accident when, in 1986, there was a reactor fireplace at Chernobyl within the north of the nation. There are not any experiences of a radiation leak at Zaporizhzhia.

The Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company has stated {that a} specific concern is its lack of ability to entry Zaporizhzhia for monitoring functions. Ukrainian plant employees function underneath stress, partially as a result of Russian authorities suspect the potential for sabotage, and the exiled mayor of the close by metropolis of Enerhodar, Dmytro Orlov, has stated that some employees have been interrogated or have disappeared, and a minimum of one has been killed.