Why would Russia fly a cruise missile so close to a nuclear power plant in Ukraine? What risk was there in doing such a thing? Let us explain: Ukraine’s nuclear officials published video that it says shows a Russian cruise missile traveling “critically low” over one of its plants early Sunday local time.
The video, Energoatom said in a Facebook post, was taken from surveillance cameras at the nuclear plant in Yuzhnoukrainsk at 5.30 a.m.. According to Energoatom, it shows a “cruise missile similar to a Caliber type rocket.”
In the footage, which was marked up by the state-run company, a faint horizontal mark can be seen traveling at speed across the sky. Insider was unable to authenticate the footage.
Energoatom said the missile in its footage was “probably one of the rockets that hit Kyiv this morning.”
However, CNN reported that the missile shown was on its way to the strategic port city of Mykolaiv, which has also been under sustained attack from ground troops and shelling. CNN reported that a facility there was struck and three people killed.
Two cruise missiles over the region were shot down Monday before hitting anything, according to Ukrainian state news agency Ukrinform.
Fredrik Dahl, the spokesperson for the International Atomic Energy Agency, told Insider that the agency was looking into the matter.
“Any such incident would be extremely serious,” Dahl said. “If a missile goes astray near a nuclear power plant, it could have a severe impact on its physical integrity, potentially leading to a nuclear accident.”
Energoatom called it an “act of nuclear terrorism” by Russia, adding: “Russia continues to threaten the nuclear safety of Ukrainian nuclear power plants and threatens the world with a new nuclear catastrophe.”
As of Sunday, Russia’s Defense Ministry had not commented on the incident, according to independent Russian news site Meduza.
Mia Jankowicz is a news reporter at Insider’s London office. She previously covered Brexit for The New European and has contributed stories to The Guardian, The New Statesman, Politics.co.uk, and Mic.com, as well as several local newspapers.