Russia’s actions have “likely undermined the security and safety” of operations at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, according to UK defence intelligence analysts.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) raised concerns regarding the Zaporizhzhia facility, which was taken over by Russian troops in March shortly after their February 24 invasion of Ukraine.
UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi earlier this week said the power plant, located in the south-eastern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar, is “completely out of control”.
He issued an urgent plea to Russia and Ukraine to quickly allow experts to visit the complex to stabilise the situation and avoid a nuclear accident.
Vladimir Putin PA
Zaporizhzhia power plant Reuters
But these fears were later downplayed by a Western official who said the site is still “functioning effectively” despite it being “degraded in terms of normal operating levels”.
The MoD said in a statement on Friday: “Following five months of occupation, Russia’s intentions regarding the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant remain unclear.
“However, the actions they have undertaken at the facility have likely undermined the security and safety of the plant’s normal operations.
“Russian forces are probably operating in the regions adjacent to the power station and have used artillery units based in these areas to target Ukrainian territory on the western bank of the Dnipro river.
“Russian forces have probably used the wider facility area, in particular the adjacent city of Enerhodar, to rest their forces, utilising the protected status of the nuclear power plant to reduce the risk to their equipment and personnel from overnight Ukrainian attacks.”