Russia, Ukraine trade accusations over nuclear plant attacks

Aug 7, 2022, 2:08 PM | Updated: Aug 8, 2022, 3:06 pm
Ukrainian servicemen of "Fireflies" reconnaissance team operate a drone at their position at the fr...

Ukrainian servicemen of "Fireflies" reconnaissance team operate a drone at their position at the frontline in Mykolaiv region, Ukraine, on Monday, Aug. 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

(AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka)

KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — Russia and Ukraine traded accusations Monday that each side is shelling Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Russia claimed that Ukrainian shelling caused a power surge and fire and forced staff to lower output from two reactors, while Ukraine has blamed Russian troops for storing weapons there.

Nuclear experts have warned that more shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which was captured by Russia early in the war, is fraught with danger.

The Kremlin echoed that Monday, claiming that Kyiv was attacking the plant and urging Western powers to force a stop to that.

“Shelling of the territory of the nuclear plant by the Ukrainian armed forces is highly dangerous,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. “It’s fraught with catastrophic consequences for vast territories, for the entire Europe.”

Ukraine’s military intelligence spokesman, Andriy Yusov, countered that Russian forces have planted explosives at the plant to head off an expected Ukrainian counteroffensive in the region. Previously, Ukrainian officials have said Russia is launching attacks from the plant and using Ukrainian workers there as human shields.

Yusov called on Russia to “make a goodwill gesture and hand over control of the plant to an international commission and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency), if not to the Ukrainian military.”

Ukraine’s ombudsman, Dmytro Lubinets, likewise urged that the United Nations, the IAEA and the international community send a delegation to “completely demilitarize the territory” and provide security guarantees to plant employees and the city where the plant is based, Enerhodar.

The IAEA is the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. Its director-general, Rafael Grossi, told The Associated Press last week that the situation surrounding the Zaporizhzhia plant “is completely out of control,” and issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to allow experts to visit the complex to stabilize the situation and avoid a nuclear accident.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres voiced support for that idea Monday, saying, “any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing.”

One expert in nuclear materials at Imperial College London said the reactor at Zaporizhzhia is modern and housed inside a heavily reinforced steel-and-concrete building designed to protect against disasters.

“As such, I do not believe there would be a high probably of a breach of the containment building, even if it was accidently struck by an explosive shell, and even less likely the reactor itself could be damaged,” said Mark Wenman at the college’s Nuclear Energy Futures.

He also said the complex’s spent fuel tanks, where the shells reportedly hit, are strong and probably don’t contain much spent fuel.

“Although it may seem worrying, and any fighting on a nuclear site would be illegal according to international law, the likelihood of a serious nuclear release is still small,” he said.

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Lt. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said the attack Sunday caused a power surge and smoke, triggering an emergency shutdown. Fire teams extinguished flames, and the plant’s personnel lowered the output of reactors No. 5 and No. 6 to 500 megawatts, he said.

And the head of the Ukrainian company operating the plant said all but one power line connecting it to Ukraine’s energy system had been destroyed. Petro Kotin, head of the Ukrainian state corporation Eherhoatom, blamed Russian shelling and said a blackout would be “very unsafe for such a nuclear facility.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy decried “the shelling and mining” of the plant and called it “nuclear blackmail.” He called for sanctions against Moscow’s nuclear industry.

As fighting continued on the front lines, the United States on Monday pledged another $1 billion in new military aid for Ukraine. It would be the biggest delivery yet of rockets, ammunition and other arms straight from U.S. Department of Defense stocks for Ukrainian forces.

The latest announcement brings total U.S. security assistance committed to Ukraine by the Biden administration to $9.1 billion since Russian troops invaded on Feb. 24.

Ukraine’s presidential office said the Russians had shelled seven Ukrainian regions over the previous 24 hours, killing five people. Among the targets, it said, was Nikopol, just across the Dnieper River from the Zaporizhzhia plant. Thousands of people were without electricity there.

Russian rockets and artillery also hit across the Sumy region, killing one person, and the Ukrainian governor of the eastern Donetsk region said the cities of Bakhmut, Avdiivka and Lyman had emerged as fighting hotspots.

Ukrainian forces struck Russian-controlled areas in the south, officials there said, including the strategic Antonivskiy bridge in the southern city of Kherson. An artery for Russian military supplies, the bridge has been closed in recent weeks because of earlier shelling. Plans to reopen it on Wednesday were now shelved, said Kirill Stremousov, deputy head of the Moscow-appointed administration of the Kherson region.

Meanwhile, one of the ships that left Ukraine on Friday under a deal to unblock grain supplies and stave off a global food crisis arrived in Turkey, the first loaded vessel to reach its destination. The Turkey-flagged Polarnet was laden with 12,000 tons of corn.

“This sends a message of hope to every family in the Middle East, Africa, and Asia: Ukraine won’t abandon you,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba tweeted. “If Russia sticks to its obligations, the ‘grain corridor’ will keep maintaining global food security.”

Twelve ships have now been authorized to sail under the grain deal between Ukraine and Russia, which was brokered by Turkey and the United Nations — 10 outbound and two inbound. Some 322,000 metric tons of agricultural products have left Ukrainian ports, the bulk of it corn but also sunflower oil and soya.

Four ships that left Ukraine on Sunday were expected to anchor near Istanbul on Monday evening for inspection to make sure they are carrying only food.

The first cargo ship to leave Ukraine, the Sierra Leone-flagged Razoni, which left Odesa on Aug. 1, hit a snag with delivery, however. It was heading for Lebanon with 26,000 metric tons of corn for chicken feed but the corn’s buyer in Lebanon refused to accept the cargo, since it was delivered much later than its contract, Ukraine’s embassy in Beirut said.

___

Kareem Chehayeb in Beirut, Mehmet Guzel in Derince, Turkey, and Andrew Wilks in Istanbul contributed.

___

Follow the AP’s coverage of the war at https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Photo from Flickr...
Associated Press

Respite center opens to families of those who died in combat

A respite center for families in the United States who have lost loved ones in combat since 9/11 will open Friday on Washington state’s Olympic Peninsula.
23 hours ago
Associated Press

New Zealand man’s convictions overturned 3 years after death

WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — New Zealand’s Supreme Court on Friday took the unusual step of overturning a man’s convictions even though he died three years ago. The court found there had been a substantial miscarriage of justice after Peter Ellis was convicted of sexually abusing children at the daycare center where he worked as […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

Thursday’s Scores

PREP FOOTBALL= Auburn 53, Kent Meridian 10 Chiawana 53, Hermiston, Ore. 14 Enumclaw 51, Franklin Pierce 12 Federal Way 61, Tahoma 14 Gonzaga Prep 52, University 12 Napavine 45, Morton/White Pass 0 Onalaska 48, Kalama 30 Puyallup 29, Olympia 24 Royal 63, Kiona-Benton 6 Shadle Park 30, Pullman 24 Steilacoom 43, Clover Park 22 Sumner […]
23 hours ago
Associated Press

NC Senate candidates to meet in likely only televised debate

RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The two major-party candidates seeking to succeed retiring North Carolina Republican Sen. Richard Burr are meeting for what is likely their only televised debate. Democrat Cheri Beasley and Republican Ted Budd agreed to a one-hour debate being held Friday night at a cable television studio in Raleigh. Budd is a three-term […]
23 hours ago
France's President Emmanuel Macron gestures while posing for a group photo during a meeting of the ...
Associated Press

Macron at Europe’s center stage with new summit initiative

PRAGUE (AP) — Smile flashing, giving a thumbs-up, Emmanuel Macron appears at Europe’s center stage again — literally. The photo of over 40 European leaders surrounding the French president Thursday ensured a symbolic image of unity of the continent faced with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, making the inaugural summit of the European Political Community an […]
23 hours ago
Andre McCourt carries water logged furniture out of his house Tuesday, Oct. 4, 2022, in North Port,...
Associated Press

Hurricane Ian floods leave mess, insurance questions behind

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Christine Barrett was inside her family’s North Port home during Hurricane Ian when one of her children started yelling that water was coming up from the shower. Then it started coming in from outside the house. Eventually the family was forced to climb on top of their kitchen cabinets — […]
23 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Swedish Cyberknife 900x506...

June is Men’s Health Month: Here’s Why It’s Important To Speak About Your Health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men in the United States, on average, die five years earlier than women.
...

Anacortes – A Must Visit Summertime Destination

While Anacortes is certainly on the way to the San Juan Islands (SJI), it is not just a destination to get to the ferry… Anacortes is a destination in and of itself!
...

Ready for your 2022 Alaskan Adventure with Celebrity Cruises?

Celebrity Cruises SPONSORED — A round-trip Alaska cruise from Seattle is an amazing treat for you and a loved one. Not only are you able to see and explore some of the most incredible and visually appealing natural sights on the planet, but you’re also able to relax and re-energize while aboard a luxury cruise […]
Russia, Ukraine trade accusations over nuclear plant attacks