Blinken warns Russia against ‘fake exports’

The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant outside the city of Ernekhodar in the Zaporozhye region of Ukraine on November 24.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant outside the city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region of Ukraine on November 24. (Alexander Ermochenko/Reuters)

Russia’s Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Tuesday that the alleged Ukrainian attack on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) constituted “nuclear terrorism”.

“In the past two weeks alone, 33 large-caliber projectiles have been fired at [nuclear power] Shoigu said that according to the reading of the meeting with the leaders of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.

Shoigu added that Russian air defenses were intercepting most of Ukraine’s weapons, but some weapons still hit objects affecting the safety of the nuclear power plant.

“We classify these attacks by Ukrainian forces as nuclear terrorism,” he said.

Shoigu said that Russian troops will continue to protect important installations in the occupied territories.

Some background: Since falling under Russian control, the factory has come under frequent shelling inside and outside, raising fears of a nuclear accident. Both sides have accused the other of nuclear terrorism, with Ukraine claiming the Kremlin used the plant as a cover to protect troops and carry out attacks.

Last week, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said he hoped to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine to protect the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.

In an interview with Italian newspaper La Repubblica published on Friday, Grossi said he was committed to reaching a settlement “as soon as possible”, hoping to have it done by the end of the year, he added.

But Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said there was “no talk about withdrawing the ZNPP from Russia or handing over its control to a third party”.

“The station is located on Russian territory and is under full Russian control,” Zakharova said on Monday. “We believe that only we can ensure the physical and nuclear security of the ZNPP.”

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