Russia accuses Ukraine of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after drone hits power plant
Russia claims the attack could have caused ‘a full-scale nuclear catastrophe’.
A Ukrainian drone reportedly hit a nuclear waste storage facility at a site in Kursk, western Russia, on Thursday.
The Russian foreign ministry said the strike risked causing ‘a full-scale nuclear catastrophe’ that would have ‘affected many countries’.
One explosive-packed drone damaged the facility’s walls while another two hit an administrative building complex, spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday.
‘We call on all governments to issue a strong condemnation of Kyiv’s barbaric actions, which are extremely dangerous and could lead to irreparable consequences,’ she said.
Ms Zakharova also said that Ukraine must have known its actions could have caused a disaster.
The statement issued on Saturday was the first official confirmation of the damage, which is said to have affected a warehouse.
The Kursk plant, which is located in a region which borders Ukraine, said there were no casualties and that radiation levels and operations were normal.
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‘According to preliminary data, the drones used in the attack on the nuclear power plant used components supplied by Western countries,’ Ms Zakharova claimed.
She added that such an attack must have had the permission of Ukraine’s allies or possibly been ordered by them.
Ukrainian officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday – Kyiv generally declines to confirm or deny military operations on Russian territory.
It comes one day after Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky said a Russian drone attack in Ukraine’s western Khmelnytskyi region had likely targeted the area’s nuclear power station.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the attack had destroyed ‘numerous windows’ at the site but had not affected the Ukrainian plant’s operations or its connection to the electricity grid.
Russia and Ukraine both operate nuclear power plants and have regularly accused each other of risking a nuclear calamity with irresponsible attacks.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog – the IAEA – has been monitoring the situation in Ukraine particularly closely.
Russia in July complained that a Ukrainian drone had struck an apartment building in Kurchatov, a town built on the banks of a cooling pond for the Kursk nuclear power station.
Russia’s FSB security service said in August last year that security around nuclear facilities had been ramped up after Ukrainian saboteurs had destroyed electricity lines supplying the Kursk plant, temporarily disrupting its functioning.
Kursk is one of several Russian regions that have regularly come under drone attack in the course of the 20-month war so far.
The governor of Kursk reported a previous drone attack on Kurchatov on September 1.
Elsewhere in the conflict, Russia is reportedly ‘executing its own troops for retreating’ in Ukraine.
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