Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant was disconnected from the power grid for the first time on Thursday due to nearby fires, CNN reports.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is held by Russian forces, was completely cut off from the power grid because of fires at nearby ash pits.
"The actions of the invaders caused a complete disconnection of the ZNPP (Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant) from the power grid -- the first in the history of the plant," Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear operator, said in a statement.
Russia ally blames Ukraine:
Yevhen Balytskyi, the Russian-installed governor of the region, said later on Thursday that “at the moment, the power supply to all cities and districts of the Zaporizhzhia region has been restored."
He blamed Ukraine for the outages.
"As a result of a strike by the armed formations of Ukraine on power lines in the area of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, the territory of the security zone of the 750 kV overhead line caught fire. The fire was provoked by a short circuit on power lines," he said.
Some observers raised concerns that the outage may be linked to an attempt by Russia to divert the plant’s electricity to Russian-occupied parts of the country.
Energoatom chief Petro Kotin told CNN that he expects Russia to “reconnect it to the Russian system.”
That would require a full shutdown, he said, "and a full cut of all lines which are connected to the Ukrainian system. Because the frequencies right now are different, Russian frequency and Ukrainian frequency -- we are synchronized with European system, and they're synchronized with Russia."