Russian Missile Attack on Ukraine Threatens Nuclear Power Plant

Russia fired 81 missiles into Ukraine on Thursday knocking out power in several regions and killing at least six civilians. The power shortage affected the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant, Europe’s largest nuclear power station. This is the sixth time the nuclear plant has gone off the grid since the beginning of the invasion.

The plant has to rely on diesel generators for the cooling of its reactors. This is a serious breach to nuclear safety, caused by Russia. … Russia is putting in danger the entirety of our joint European continent, Russia included.
—Josep Borrell, European Union foreign policy chief

They have 10 days of fuel left for their work. The countdown has begun. If it is impossible to restore external power to the plant during this time, an accident with radiation consequences for the whole world may occur.
—Energoatom, Ukraine’s national energy company

The Russian attack also included:

  • Six Kinzhal hypersonic cruise missiles known for flying 12 times faster than the speed of sound and one of Russia’s most deadly weapons.
  • At least four Iran-made Shahed suicide drones.

Ukraine was able to shoot down the four Shahed drones, 34 cruise missiles and eight other drones and guided missiles, but it couldn’t intercept Russia’s Kinzhal cruise missiles.

Reputation at risk: The war raging in Ukraine is too monumental for Russian President Vladimir Putin to lose. If Russia is bested by one of its former Soviet states, its prestige would shatter. This is why it persists on attacking Ukraine’s energy infrastructure to weaken it, even if it means using the most valuable weaponry Russia has. Russia’s reputation as a major power is on the line. To understand more, read “Putin Can’t Afford to Lose in Ukraine.”