Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘nuclear terrorism’ after missile lands near power plant

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The Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk (REUTERS)
The Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Power Plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk (REUTERS)

Russia has been accused of “nuclear terrorism” after a missile struck close to a power plant in southern Ukraine.

The missile struck 300 metres from the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk. The strike did not damage the three reactors but did hit other industrial equipment.

Black-and-white CCTV footage released by Ukraine’s Ministry of Defence showed two large fireballs erupting one after the other in the dark, followed by incandescent showers of sparks.

The ministry and nuclear operator Energoatom both called the strike “nuclear terrorism.”

The Russian Defence Ministry had no immediate comment.

The nuclear plant is the second largest after the Zaparizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is Europe’s largest nuclear power station and has repeatedly come under fire during the war. Both plants have reactors of the same design.

Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant since the early days of the invasion.

Repeated shelling cut off its transmission lines, forcing operators to shut down its six reactors to avoid a radiation disaster.

It comes after Vladimir Putin warned his forces could ramp up strikes following a successful Ukrainian counter-attack near Kharkiv.

“If the situation develops this way, our response will be more serious,” Putin said in a stark warning on Friday

“Just recently, the Russian armed forces have delivered a couple of impactful strikes,” he said, referring to attacks last week.

”Let’s consider those as warning strikes.”