The Russian Defense Ministry reported Friday that units of Ukrainian nationalists attempted to set fire to the Zaporizhia power plant, the largest in Europe, located in the city of Energodar. The plant, the territory near it and the city are under control of Russian troops. "At night, the Kiev regime made an attempt to carry out a monstrous provocation on the territory adjacent to the nuclear power plant," said Ministry spokesman General Igor Konashenkov.
The spokesman said that Russian servicemen were patrolling in the protected area near the plant when they were attacked by a sabotage group. The nationalists fired at the Russian servicemen from the training building outside the plant. Then the Russian patrol destroyed the firing emplacements in the building. "Leaving the training building, a group of Ukrainian saboteurs set fire to it," Konashenkov said.
Firefighting crews arriving on the scene managed to extinguish the flames. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, no plant personnel were inside the affected facility at the time of the provocation. "Currently, the Zaporizhia NPP staff continues to work normally, maintaining its facilities and monitoring the radioactive situation. The radioactive background in the vicinity of the plant is normal," the spokesman assured.
Konashenkov also referred to Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky's statements about the threat to the plant, as well as his talks on the issue with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Joe Biden. "The aim of the Kyiv regime's provocation at the nuclear facility is to try to accuse Russia of creating a hotbed of radioactive contamination," he said. "All this demonstrates the criminal intent of the Kiev regime or Zelensky's complete loss of control over the actions of Ukrainian sabotage groups with foreign mercenaries," he stressed.
Hours earlier, the Ukrainian State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate confirmed the seizure of the plant and specified that its staff is still working there. On Thursday night, a fire broke out in the training building outside the plant's territory amid the fighting between the Russian and Ukrainian military. The live broadcast issued by the nuclear power plant showed falling and ricocheting shells in what appeared to be the parking area of the facility. Subsequently, the Ukrainian Emergency Service reported that the flames were extinguished and specified that no casualties or injuries were reported. They also clarified that only one of the six blocks is operational, the fourth one.
Meanwhile, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported, citing the Ukrainian regulator, that no changes were reported in radiation levels at the plant, nor was any "essential equipment" affected. However, the international organization put its Incident and Emergency Center in full response mode to deal with an eventual worsening of the situation.
The operation in figures
Regarding the course of the operation, the spokesman informed that a total of 1,812 Ukrainian military infrastructure facilities were destroyed since the beginning of the military operation in the country. Among the targets hit were 65 command posts and communication nodes of the Armed Forces of Ukraine, 56 air defense missile systems S-300, Buk-M1 and Osa, as well as 59 radar stations. In parallel, Konashenkov reported that a total of 49 aircraft stationed on the ground have been destroyed, along with 13 in the air, as well as 635 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, 67 multiple rocket launchers, 252 pieces of field artillery and mortars, as well as 442 special military vehicles and 54 drones.