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Human Rights

Russia shells Ukrainian city near Europe's largest nuclear plant

The shelling damaged about 50 residential buildings in the city of 107,000

August 5, 2022 6:07am

Updated: August 5, 2022 10:19am

Russian forces shelled a Ukrainian city close to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Thursday, despite warnings that fighting around the site could lead to a catastrophic accident.

The regional governor for Dnipropetrovsk said Russia fired at least 60 rockets at Nikopol, a city that is across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

The shelling damaged about 50 residential buildings in the city of 107,000. The attack left residents without electricity, according to a Telegram post by Valentyn Reznichenko.

Located in Enerhodar in southern Ukraine, Zaporizhzhia is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, and has six nuclear reactors. The Zaporizhzhia power plant was seized by Russian troops earlier in the war and has been under Russian supervision since then.

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, warned on Tuesday that the situation around the nuclear power plant has been becoming more perilous every day, calling the situation “out of control.”

“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant, he said. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous.”

Grossi has expressed concern at how the power plant is being controlled by Russia, but the Ukrainian staff continued to run the plant’s operations, leading to moments of friction and violence.

Additionally, the supply chain of equipment and spare parts has been interrupted, “so we are not sure the plant is getting all it needs,” he added.

Ukraine's Minister of Foreign Affairs Dmytro Kuleba has warned that if the plant "blows up," it will be far worse than the Chernobyl nuclear crisis, which is currently the world’s worst nuclear disaster.

"If it blows up, it will be 10 times larger than Chornobyl! Russians must IMMEDIATELY cease the fire, allow firefighters, and establish a security zone!" Kuleba tweeted in March.