Russia says Ukrainian drones launched an attack near Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

MOSCOW (Reuters) – Russia on Thursday said Ukraine was risking a nuclear disaster after nine Ukrainian drones were shot down by Russian forces near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear station, Europe’s largest atomic power plant.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, which has been under Russian control since early March 2022, has six Soviet-designed VVER-1000 V-320 water-cooled and water-moderated reactors containing Uranium 235.

Four of the reactors are shut down while two of the reactors – No. 4 and No. 5 – are in so-called ‘hot shutdown’ mode, according to the Russian operator of the plant.

“The Kyiv regime continues to carry out provocations with the aim of creating the threat of a disaster at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and disrupting the rotation of employees of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA),” Russia’s defence ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said Russian air defence forces had shot down nine Ukrainian drones near the Russian-held city of Enerhodar.

The IAEA has repeatedly said that the world is fortunate that no nuclear accident has yet happened at the Zaporizhzhia plant where the Agency says nuclear safety remains extremely fragile.

Shortly after sending troops into Ukraine in 2022, Russian forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia station. Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of attacking the station.

(Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Alison Williams/Andrew Osborn)