The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is currently in a state of blackout after Russia unleashed an overnight missile barrage in Ukraine.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which is occupied by Russian forces, lost power last night, nuclear state operator Energoatom said.
This is the sixth time the station has lot power since it was taken over by Russia months ago, forcing it to rely on 18 diesel generators which can run the station for 10 days.
It comes after Russia fired more than 80 missiles, with Ukraine’s military saying eight drones were involved.
Nuclear plants need constant power to run cooling systems and avoid a meltdown.
‘The countdown has begun,’ Energoatom said.
Ukraine’s energy minister Herman Halushchenko condemned the missile strikes as ‘another barbaric massive attack on the energy infrastructure of Ukraine’.
He said facilities in Kyiv, Mykolaiv, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, Odesa, Dnipropetrovsk and Zhytomyr regions have been targeted.
Four people died in the Lviv region after a missile hit a residential area, governor Maksym Kozytskyi said.
Three buildings were gutted by fire after the strike and rescue workers were combing through rubble looking for more possible victims.
A fifth person was killed and two others hurt in multiple strikes in the Dnipropetrovsk region which targeted its energy infrastructure and industrial facilities, governor Serhii Lysak said.
Air raid sirens wailed through the night across Ukraine, including the capital, Kyiv, where explosions happened in two western areas of the city.
Defence systems were activated around the country and it was not clear how many missiles hit targets or were intercepted.
The alarm in Kyiv was lifted just before 8am, with the air raid sirens falling silent after seven hours
The missile barrage hit as Russia pushed its advance in Ukraine’s eastern stronghold of Bakhmut, where a grinding fight between the two sides has gone on for six months and reduced the city to a smouldering wasteland.
The last major Russian offensive took place on February 16.
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