The Zaporizhia plant, the largest in Europe, currently crystallizes all the tensions of the Ukrainian conflict.
The Russian Defense Ministry said during its daily press conference on Saturday that the Russian military repelled an attack by Ukrainian forces on Friday evening who were attempting to retake the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. More than 250 members of the Ukrainian Navy attempted to land on the shores of the lake where the plant is located at around 23:00 (2000 GMT), when the Russian military repelled them using helicopters and warplanes. . About 20 Ukrainian boats were destroyed, causing the rest of the Ukrainian fleet to disband and retreat, the Russian ministry added.
“Despite the presence of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the Kyiv regime tried to seize the plant again”, the Russian Defense Ministry said. Reuters could not verify these claims. The Russian military took control of the Zaporizhia power plant in the first weeks of its offensive in Ukraine, which began on February 24, but the site, near the frontline, is connected to the Ukrainian electricity network and its operation has been ensured by Ukrainian staff.
Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of bombing the vicinity of Europe’s largest power plant, fueling fears of a nuclear disaster. An IAEA mission arrived at the site on Thursday to assess the situation and risks.
Ukraine and its Western backers accuse Russia of using the plant to store heavy weapons to protect themselves from possible Ukrainian attacks. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu on Friday denied Russia had any such weapons at or near the plant and accused Ukraine of “nuclear terrorism” over the attacks on the nuclear power plant. A representative of the authorities installed by the Russians in Zaporizhzhya said that the situation at the nuclear power plant was calm on Saturday morning.
The new move comes as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday offered Turkish mediation to resolve the crisis at Zaporizhia, a Ukrainian nuclear power plant occupied by Russian troops.
“President Erdoğan said that Turkey can play a facilitating role in the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as it did in the grain deal” whose exports were blocked by the war, the Turkish president said in a statement.
“Web aficionado. Lifelong music lover. Pop culture guru. Professional tv expert. Wannabe beer scholar. Hipster-friendly coffee nerd.”