A nuclear plant located in Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine that is controlled and surrounded by Russian forces has lost external power, according to the head of the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog.
In a statement on Wednesday, International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi said all external power needed for vital safety systems was shut down for the second time in five days.
The interruption at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is “a deeply worrying development,” he said.
Nuclear safety and security equipment are being kept operational by backup diesel generators.
RUSSIAN MISSILES ROCK ZAPORIZHIZHIA AS UKRAINIAN FORCES ADVANCE IN ‘ANNEXED’ REGIONS
Russia has maintained a presence in Zaporizhzhia for several months and said they are determined to keep a foothold in the region — and over the nuclear plant — following a local separatist-backed referendum vote to join Russia.
“The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is now on the territory of the Russian Federation and, accordingly, should be operated under the supervision of our relevant agencies,” Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Vershinin said, via Russia media outlet RIA.
The captivity of the nuclear plant poses a significant risk to the surrounding area and to the world, Ukrainian officials have said.
PUTIN ORDERS RUSSIAN GOVERNMENT TO TAKE OVER UKRAINE’S ZAPORIZHZHIA NUCLEAR POWER PLANT FOLLOWING ANNEXATION
Last week, Russia formally annexed the Ukrainian regions of Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. It is among the top ten largest in the world.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.