Russia is allegedly | Energy Minister of Ukraine: Russia attempting to "steal" nuclear plant

Russia is allegedly attempting to "take" Europe's largest nuclear facility, according to the chairman of Ukraine's nuclear energy company.

AP — KYIV, Ukraine On Thursday, the president of Ukraine's nuclear energy company charged that Russia was attempting to "steal" Europe's largest nuclear reactor by disconnecting it from the Ukrainian electricity system and putting it in danger of a radioactive leak.

According to Enerhoatom CEO Petro Kotin, the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant hasn't had access to outside electricity since Monday and only has one of its six functioning reactors to power its own safety systems.

He added that such generators are "the station's final line of defense before a radioactive mishap," adding that while "we are attempting to keep this unit functioning as much as possible," eventually it will have to be shut down.

The shelling that caused damage to the transmission links connecting the plant to Ukraine's electricity grid and the critical cooling systems required to avert a meltdown has been attributed to both Russia and Ukraine.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine is being attempted to be stolen, according to Kotin, who said that the Russians "have a crazy plan to switch the ZNPP to the Russian power system."

He claimed that about three or four weeks ago, the Russians provided the plant's managers with a ten-page plan to connect the facility to the Crimean electrical grid, which Russia annexed from Ukraine in 2014.

The power lines that link the facility to the Ukrainian grid were first shelled by the Russians on the same day, and the last line was severed on Monday, according to Kotin.

As a result, the plant is now running in "island mode," which is a highly rare and unstable method for a nuclear plant to operate and which he claimed shouldn't persist for longer than two hours but has now been in place for more than three days.

The only source of power for the entire nuclear plant after that will be a diesel generator, he said. "The unit can be fully stopped at any time." 20 generators are present, however "if one of these diesel generators fails, the implications can be very horrible and bad for the radiation threat of the ZNPP," even though there are 20 generators.

He claimed that given the hostilities in the region, connecting the plant to the Russian grid was also nearly impossible.

There is only one possible solution, according to Kotin, and that is to end the ZNPP's occupancy and hand it over to the Ukrainian side or international security agencies.

Russian forces captured the ZNPP early in the conflict, but it is still controlled by Ukrainian engineers, who, according to Kotin, are under intense psychological pressure.

"I can say that the majority of the employees are pro-Ukrainian. Anyone who actively advocated for Ukraine was grabbed, abused, and beaten," he claimed.

While fighting went on close to the plant, Russian shelling overnight damaged apartment buildings, a school, some industrial facilities, and power lines in the towns of Nikopol and Marhanets, which are across the Dnieper River from the plant, according to the governor of the Dnipropetrovsk province, Valentyn Reznichenko.

Reznichenko stated in broadcast remarks that "the nuclear threat is not diminishing because of Russia's insane behavior and we need to anticipate all conceivable situations, including the worst one."

Iryna Vereshchuk, the deputy prime minister of Ukraine, encouraged people in Russian-occupied districts close to the power plant to leave. She added that the Ukrainian government had pleaded with the Russians to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate people but had not received a response.

According to a report released on Wednesday, Ukrainian forces retook some Russian-held terrain in the northeastern Kharkiv region as a Ukrainian counteroffensive in the south depleted some of Moscow's supplies there.

According to the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War, Ukrainian forces in the Kharkiv region are "likely exploiting Russian force reallocation" to regions close to the occupied city of Kherson in the south "to conduct an opportunistic yet highly effective counteroffensive" in the province.

In the Kharkiv region on Wednesday, Ukrainian forces reportedly employed "tactical surprise" to move at least 12 miles (20 kilometers) into Russian-held territory and retake over 155 square miles (400 square kilometers), according to the source.

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