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Ukraine Accuses Russia of Again Shelling Nuclear Plant

A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Aug. 4, 2022.
A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine, Aug. 4, 2022.

Ukraine accused Russia again Sunday of bombing Europe's largest nuclear power station, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, and alleged that Moscow was engaging in "nuclear terror."

Ukraine's state nuclear power firm said Russian forces damaged three radiation sensors at the facility in the attack Saturday night and wounded a worker with shrapnel.

"Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community — sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel," Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy wrote on Twitter.

The plant, in Russian-controlled territory, was also attacked Friday. Moscow has blamed Ukrainian forces for the strikes.

Russia captured the Zaporizhzhia plant in early March in the opening stages of its invasion of Ukraine, but the facility is still run by Ukrainian technicians.

The Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom said Russian rocket attacks Saturday hit a storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel were kept in the open.

"Consequently, timely detection and response in the event of a deterioration in the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from containers of spent nuclear fuel are not yet possible," it said.

The Russian-installed administration of occupied Enerhodar, where the plant's employees live, said Ukraine had struck using a 220-mm Uragan multiple rocket launcher system.

"The administrative buildings and the adjacent territory of the storage facility were damaged," it said.

After the first attack Friday, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said the shelling showed the risk of a nuclear disaster. Those shells hit a high-voltage power line, prompting the plant's operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected.

Zelenskyy, in his daily address Saturday, denounced Amnesty International for its “eloquent silence” in failing to address the Russian shelling of Zaporizhzhia. The silence, Zelenskyy said, “indicates the manipulative selectivity of this organization.”

Amnesty International released a report last week saying that “Ukrainian forces have put civilians in harm’s way by establishing bases and operating weapons systems in populated residential areas, including in schools and hospitals, as they repelled the Russian invasion that began in February.”

In response, Zelenskyy said, “There cannot be, even hypothetically, any condition under which any Russian attack on Ukraine becomes justified. Aggression against our state is unprovoked, invasive and openly terroristic.”

Oksana Pokalchuk, the head of Amnesty International Ukraine, also took issue with the global organization’s report and resigned from her post in protest.

Meanwhile, four grain ships sailed from Ukraine’s Black Sea ports Sunday.

The Joint Coordination Center, the body set up under the Black Sea Grain Initiative to monitor its implementation, authorized the departures through the maritime humanitarian corridor.

Tons of Grain Leaving Ukraine

The ships moving out of Ukrainian ports are headed to China, Italy and two locations in Turkey.

A fifth ship has been authorized to sail to Ukraine to pick up cargo.

Ukraine is one of the world’s breadbaskets and the blockage of its ports has resulted in rising global food prices and the threat of famine.

Some material in this report came from Reuters.