KYIV, Ukraine (AP) — A Russian missile struck near a nuclear energy plant in southern Ukraine with out damaging the three reactors however hit different industrial gear Monday in what Ukrainian authorities denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism.”

The strike adopted warnings from Russian President Vladimir Putin of doable stepped-up assaults on Ukrainian infrastructure after his forces suffered humiliating battlefield setbacks. It additionally renewed fears of a doable radioactive catastrophe within the nearly 7-month-long war.

The missile struck inside 300 meters (328 yards) of reactors on the Pivdennoukrainsk plant, often known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Energy Plant, blasting a crater 2 meters (6 1/2 ft) deep and 4 meters (13 ft) throughout, in response to Ukrainian nuclear operator Energoatom.

Black-and-white CCTV footage launched by Ukraine’s Ministry of Protection confirmed two giant fireballs erupting one after the opposite at midnight, adopted by incandescent showers of sparks. A time stamp on the video learn 19 minutes after midnight.

The ministry and Energoatom each known as the strike “nuclear terrorism.” The Russian Protection Ministry had no speedy remark. The United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, the Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company, didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.

The commercial complicated that features the Pivdennoukrainsk nuclear plant sits alongside the Southern Bug River about 300 kilometers (190 miles) south of the capital, Kyiv. The assault induced the short-term shutdown of a close-by hydropower plant and shattered greater than 100 home windows on the complicated, Energoatom mentioned.

Ukraine’s presidential workplace mentioned the assault additionally severed three energy transmission traces.

This satellite tv for pc picture from Planet Labs PBC exhibits the Pivdennoukrainsk Nuclear Energy Plant, often known as the South Ukraine Nuclear Energy Plant, within the southern Mykolaiv area of Ukraine, Could 31, 2022. A Russian missile strike hit a facility near the nuclear energy plant in southern Ukraine Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, inflicting no injury to its reactors however damaging different industrial gear in what the nation’s atomic vitality operator denounced as an act of “nuclear terrorism.”

Planet Labs PBC through Related Press

The nuclear plant is Ukraine’s second-largest after the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is Europe’s largest and has repeatedly come underneath fireplace. The 2 vegetation have reactors of the identical design.

Russian forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant for the reason that early days of the invasion. Shelling reduce off its transmission traces, forcing operators to shut down its six reactors to keep away from a radiation catastrophe. Russia and Ukraine have traded blame for the strikes.

The Worldwide Atomic Vitality Company mentioned a main transmission line was reconnected Friday, offering electrical energy that the Zaporizhzhia plant wants to chill its reactors. The IAEA has screens on the plant.

However the mayor of Enerhodar, town that hosts the Zaporizhzhia plant, reported extra Russian shelling Monday, within the metropolis’s industrial zone.

Whereas warning Friday of doable ramped-up strikes, Putin claimed his forces had thus far acted with restraint in responding to Ukrainian makes an attempt to hit Russian services.

“If the state of affairs develops this manner, our response shall be extra critical,” Putin mentioned.

“Only recently, the Russian armed forces have delivered a few impactful strikes,” he mentioned, referring to assaults final week. ”Let’s think about these as warning strikes.”

A Russian serviceman guards in an area of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine, Sunday, May 1, 2022.
A Russian serviceman guards in an space of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Energy Station in territory underneath Russian army management, southeastern Ukraine, Sunday, Could 1, 2022.

In addition to infrastructure, Russian forces are additionally pounding different websites. The most recent shelling killed at the very least eight civilians and wounded 22 others, Ukraine’s presidential workplace mentioned Monday.

The governor of the northeastern Kharkiv area, now largely again in Ukrainian fingers, mentioned Russian shelling killed 4 medical employees who had been attempting to evacuate sufferers from a psychiatric hospital, and wounded two sufferers.

The mayor of the Russian-occupied japanese metropolis of Donetsk mentioned shelling killed 13 civilians there.

Patricia Lewis, the worldwide safety analysis director on the Chatham Home think-tank in London, mentioned the previous attacks at the Zaporizhzhia plant and Monday’s strike pointed to a sample of Russian army planners making an attempt to take Ukrainian nuclear vegetation offline earlier than winter by concentrating on energy provides that hold them functioning safely.

“It’s a really, very harmful and unlawful act to be concentrating on a nuclear station,” Lewis mentioned in an interview. “Solely the generals will know the intent, however there’s clearly a sample.”

“What they appear to be doing every time is to attempt to reduce off the ability to the reactor,” she mentioned. “It’s a really clumsy strategy to do it, as a result of how correct are these missiles?”

Different latest Russian strikes on Ukrainian infrastructure focused energy vegetation within the north and a dam within the south. They got here within the wake of a sweeping Ukrainian counterattack within the nation’s east reclaimed Russia-occupied territory within the Kharkiv area and broke what had largely turn into a stalemate within the conflict.

The Ukrainian successes — Russia’s greatest defeat since its forces had been repelled from round Kyiv within the invasion’s opening stage — have fueled uncommon public criticism in Russia and added to army and diplomatic strain piling up for Putin.

Nationalist critics of the Kremlin have questioned why Moscow didn’t plunge Ukraine into darkness by hitting all of its main nuclear energy vegetation.

AP journalist John Leicester in Le Pecq, France, contributed.

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