Conflicts & War

At least 9 killed in Russian strikes that also shut down nuclear plant

(Update: changes headline, lede, upgrades death toll, adds info on nuclear power plant)

Kyiv, Mar 9 (EFE).- At least nine civilians died Thursday after the latest wave of Russian missile attacks on Ukraine, officials said, which have also damaged energy infrastructure, completely cutting off the nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhya from the power grid.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, told a board of governors’ meeting in Vienna that he was “astonished by the complacency” being shown by the UN’s nuclear watchdog, warning that not enough action was being taken to address security concerns at the power plant, which is the largest in Europe.

The plant in southern Ukraine was occupied by Russian forces after the invasion in February last year. It has been disconnected from the Ukrainian grid several times since then due to shelling in the area, which Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for.

The plant needs to be supplied with electricity in order to power cooling systems that stop the nuclear fuel from overheating.

“What are we doing to prevent this happening? We are the IAEA, we are meant to care about nuclear safety,” Grossi said.

“Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time then one day our luck will run out.”

The latest barrage overnight killed at least five people in the Lviv region in the west, another civilian in Dnipropetrovsk in the southeast and three others in the Kherson region in the east of the country.

“There are four dead. All adults. Two men and two women,” Maksym Kozytskyi, the head of the Lviv region military administration, said on his Telegram channel, later confirming the death of another 60-year-old resident.

Kozytskyi said the victims were at home when the missile hit their apartment complex.

Rescue teams were combing the rubble for anyone trapped underneath. At least one person was reported missing.

Kozytskyi said a fire caused by the missile strike had destroyed at least three residential structures.

Ihor Hrynkiv, mayor of the city of Zolochiv, also in the Lviv region, said that rescue teams in the village of Velyka Vilshanytsia were searching under the rubble for one more person who is missing.

Russian forces also attacked the Dnipropetrovsk region with drones and missiles, killing one civilian and wounding two more, regional military head Serhii Lysak said.

In the partly Russian-controlled region of Kherson, shelling claimed the lives of three people, according to the local military authorities.

The barrage of attacks overnight interrupted several weeks of relative calm on the front.

Moscow said Thursday the strikes were in retaliation for an alleged incursion on March 2 by pro-Ukrainian forces into the Russian border region of Bryansk, claims which Kyiv has denied. EFE


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