Russian Strike Just Misses Ukraine’s Second-Biggest Nuclear Plant – Europe now has a second nuclear power plant to worry about in the Russo-Ukraine war – the second-largest plant in the country. This week, Ukraine slammed Russian “nuclear terrorism” after a missile attack almost struck the reactors at the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant (SUNPP) in the city of Yuzhnoukrainsk.
The strike missed the reactors by just 328 yards on Monday, which reportedly left a crater in the ground 6.5ft deep and 13 ft wide. The strike was confirmed by Ukraine’s nuclear energy agency Energoatom.
Two photographs of the damage caused by the strike were also published by the agency.
The strike could well be a part of Russia’s new plan to increase attacks on civilian infrastructure across Ukraine. In recent days, those strikes have intensified as the Russian military does all it can to make life as difficult as possible for the Ukrainian military amid an ongoing and successful counteroffensive in both the northeast and the southeast.
While the strike ultimately didn’t cause any damage to the plant, it did cause a temporary shutdown of a hydroelectric power plant nearby. Ukrainian authorities also confirmed that hundreds of windows had been smashed by the impact.
A black-and-white video of the strike was also released by the Ukrainian Ministry of Defense showing two huge fireballs in the distance.
“Last night Russian terrorists attempted to strike the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in the Mykolaiv region,” a tweet by the Ministry of Defense reads.”
“Last night russian terrorists attempted to strike the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in the Mykolaiv region,” a tweet from the Ministry of Defense reads.
Last night russian terrorists attempted to strike the South Ukraine Nuclear Power Plant in the Mykolaiv region. A missile fell 300 meters from the plant.
kremlin’s nuclear terrorism continues.
russia is the threat to the whole world. pic.twitter.com/aWhz8yNXWp
— Defense of Ukraine (@DefenceU) September 19, 2022
It is unclear whether the Russian military intended to strike the plant and missed, or whether the uncomfortably close strike was designed to serve as a warning to Ukraine.
What the IAEA Says
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a United Nations agency with a group of experts on the ground in Ukraine monitoring the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, said that Energoatom confirmed all three reactors at the SUNPP were functioning normally and the strikes caused no injuries.
“The three power lines were automatically reconnected after a short period of time, it said. The SUNPP is located about 250 km from the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Europe’s largest. Ukraine also has two other nuclear power plants,” the IAEA said in a statement.
In the same update, the IAEA highlighted another “significant development” to the nuclear risk in Ukraine, describing how a power line used to supply the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with electricity from the Ukrainian power grid was disconnected again on September 18.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said that the situation at the plant “remains fragile and precarious.” He also said that improvements were made to the plant’s power supplies last week, making the disconnection a “setback.”
Jack Buckby is a British author, counter-extremism researcher, and journalist based in New York. Reporting on the U.K., Europe, and the U.S., he works to analyze and understand left-wing and right-wing radicalization, and reports on Western governments’ approaches to the pressing issues of today. His books and research papers explore these themes and propose pragmatic solutions to our increasingly polarized society.