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Russia-Ukraine War: Latest News – The New York Times

Credit…David Guttenfelder for The New York Times

DRUZHKIVKA, Ukraine — Ukrainian officers have been elevating alarms for months. The world’s nuclear watchdog company warned of the extraordinary dangers simply this week. Then on Friday, artillery duels close to an enormous nuclear energy plant on the Dnipro River in southern Ukraine added new security dangers.

Explosions in and across the Zaporizhzhia nuclear energy complicated — the biggest in Europe — at about 2:30 p.m. destroyed electrical transmission traces and posed dangers of damaging the plant, forcing engineers to change the operation of one in all its six reactors by lowering energy, Ukraine’s state nuclear company, Energoatom, mentioned.

Hours later, a second collection of three explosions broken an auxiliary constructing close to one of many nuclear reactors, elevating the danger of hydrogen leaks and hearth, the company mentioned.

Fighting has intensified in latest weeks close to the nuclear complicated, which the Russian army controls and is utilizing as a fortress, at the same time as Ukrainian engineers proceed to function it.

For a a couple of month, Russia has used the positioning to stage artillery strikes on Ukrainian targets with out worry of retaliation, for the reason that Ukrainian army can’t hearth again with out danger of hitting security gear, reactors or storage amenities for spent gasoline. Ukrainian officers say the Russians intention to disrupt a Ukrainian counteroffensive within the nation’s south.

After the explosions on Friday afternoon severed a excessive-voltage electrical line, the plant operators lowered output from one of many reactors. Previously, three of the six reactors on the plant had been operational, two had been on standby and one was present process deliberate repairs.

It was not clear if the reactor whose operation was altered on Friday was shifted to a standby standing, mentioned Dmytro Orlov, a former plant engineer who’s now the mayor of Enerhodar, the place the plant is situated.

“This is an unusual event but not unpredictable,” he mentioned. “Personnel were prepared.” He in contrast it to the emergency response within the case that {an electrical} line had been broken by wildfire or one other accident.

Energoatom, the state energy company, launched an announcement on the Telegram social networking website saying that Russian artillery hearth had severed {the electrical} line. “The Russian military again resorted to provocation,” the company mentioned. It mentioned an industrial space on the complicated’s grounds was struck 3 times, hitting the wiring and a transformer.

The assertion mentioned the operators lowered output and disconnected one reactor from {the electrical} grid. “Releases of radioactive substances were not recorded,” the assertion mentioned.

Russian state media blamed Ukrainian forces for the explosions and reported they’d precipitated a fireplace.

Hours later, the power company reported a second assault on Telegram, saying Russians had fired three rocket-propelled grenades that landed close to one of many nuclear reactors. The explosions, the assertion mentioned, broken an auxiliary constructing and a specialised station. “Fire danger is high,” the company mentioned.

The International Atomic Energy Agency mentioned it was conscious of the reviews and looking for additional details about the state of affairs.

Ukrainian officers say they’ve few choices however to endure the Russian bombardments. In July, Ukraine’s army intelligence company mentioned it had used a precision-guided “kamikaze” drone, which explodes on contact with a goal, to destroy a Russian rocket launcher and air protection system situated about 150 yards from a reactor, with out damaging the reactor itself.

The I.A.E.A. has warned of grave risks from the plight of the plant. Cornerstones of nuclear security, it mentioned, are being knocked out from the plant even because it continues working. Among the shortcomings, it mentioned, are a scarcity of bodily safety and regulatory oversight, which is in limbo now.

Those considerations had been echoed by Britain’s protection ministry on Friday. In its day by day intelligence replace, the ministry mentioned that Russian troops “have likely undermined the security” of the plant by utilizing it as a base to “target Ukrainian territory on the western bank of the Dnipro river.”

Fighting across the complicated in March had precipitated a fireplace that stoked international considerations a couple of potential nuclear accident.

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