Emergency workers prepare to nuclear disaster response drills in Zaporizhzhia


  • Russia said the backup support systems of the Zaporizhzhia plant have sustained damage
  • Russia said it is planning to shut down the nuclear plant if the shelling continues
  • Ukraine warns that shutting down the plant could bring a nuclear disaster closer

Russia on Thursday warned that a potential accident at Ukraine's nuclear power plant could bring radioactive wastes to several countries in Europe, according to a report.

Speaking at a briefing, Igor Kirillov — head of Russia's radioactive, chemical and biological defense forces — warned that the backup support systems at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant have sustained damage as a result of daily shellings over the recent weeks. In the event of an accident at the plant, Kirillov said the radioactive waste could cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia, Reuters reported.

Russia's Defense Ministry on Thursday also suggested plans to shut down the nuclear power plant should Ukraine continue to shell the facility. Ukraine has firmly denied shelling the plant and instead blamed Russia for targeting the Zaporizhzhia plant.

Energoatam, Ukraine's state-run nuclear power company, warned Russia against shutting down the plant. The company said that doing so could bring the scenario of a nuclear disaster closer.

"In the event of the disconnection of the [Zaporizhzhia] NPP generators from the power system of Ukraine, they will not be able to be used for their own fuel cooling needs in case of a power outage at the plant," Energoatom said in a Telegram post Thursday. "This will approximate the possible scenario of a radiation disaster at the largest nuclear power plant in Europe."

Energoatom also accused Russian forces at the nuclear power plant of meddling in the management of the facility, noting that Moscow wants to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia plant from Ukraine's power grid to connect it to a Russian-controlled power grid in annexed Crimea.

"This is what nuclear terrorism looks like. The Ruscists are terrorising and blackmailing not only Ukraine, but the entire civilized world. They are gradually destroying all possible means that can protect the ZNPP from a nuclear disaster," Energoatam said.

The plant has become the subject of growing global concern after it was seized by Russian soldiers in March, just days after the invasion of Ukraine began. Since then, Russian military units have taken up positions on and around the ground. This prompted Ukraine to blame Russia for using the power plant as a shield.

Ukraine has also claimed that Russia could be planning a "high-profile provocation" at the plant Friday.

A map showing the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine