Near miss on nuclear disaster at Zaporizhzhia plant, Zelensky says
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Thursday evening that there was nearly a "radiation accident" when Europe's largest nuclear power plant was temporarily disconnected from the electric grid.
How it happened: Ukraine's state nuclear company said Thursday morning that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station had lost its connection to Ukraine's power grid "for the first time in the history of the plant." Fires had damaged power lines outside the station.
- Zelensky blamed Russian shelling, while Russia blamed Ukraine. Power outages were reported in the region.
- "If the diesel generators hadn't turned on, if the automation and our staff of the plant had not reacted after the blackout, then we would already be forced to overcome the consequences of the radiation accident," Zelensky said.
- The UN's nuclear watchdog is desperate to gain access to the plant. "Almost every day there is a new incident at or near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. We can't afford to lose any more time," IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said in a statement.
- Flashback: Russia occupied Zaporizhzhia early in the war and forced Ukrainian workers at the plant to keep it operating.
What to watch: The plant supplies one-fifth of Ukraine's electricity, but U.S. and Ukrainian officials have warned that Russia might try to redirect the electricity to Russia’s own electric grid.
In related news...
- Russian opposition politician Yevgeny Roizman said he was detained Wednesday for calling the invasion an "invasion."
- Ukraine's top soccer league returned Wednesday, which was Ukraine's independence day and the six-month mark since the invasion. U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson also visited Kyiv.
- Also on Wednesday, at least 25 people were killed and another 31 were wounded in an attack by Russian forces, Zelensky's office said, and President Biden announced another $3 billion in weapons.
Go deeper: State of the war, six months on