Russian forces seized control of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant on Friday after a battle with Ukrainian troops that caused a fire and fears of a catastrophic accident.
The Ukrainian nuclear regulator said that the fire had been extinguished and no radiation leak had been detected, with site staff still able to work.
“Personnel are on their working places providing normal operation of the station,” the official told Reuters in a message.
However he said his organisation no longer had communication with the plant’s managers, control over the radiation situation there or oversight of potentially dangerous nuclear material in its six reactors and about 150 containers of spent fuel.
Earlier, a video from the plant verified by Reuters showed one building aflame, and a volley of incoming shells, before a large incandescent ball lit up the sky, exploding beside a car park and sending smoke billowing across the compound.
“Europeans, please wake up. Tell your politicians – Russian troops are shooting at a nuclear power plant in Ukraine,” Ukrainian leader Volodymyr Zelenskiy said in a video address. In another address later he called on Russians to protest.
He also called on Russians to protests over the attack.
The mayor of the nearby town of Energodar about 550 km (342 miles) southeast of Kyiv said fierce fighting and “continuous enemy shelling” had caused casualties in the area, without providing details.
Thousands of people are believed to have been killed or wounded and more than 1 million refugees have fled Ukraine since Feb. 24, when Russian President Vladimir Putin launched the biggest attack on a European state since World War Two.
Russian forces advancing from three directions have besieged Ukrainian cities and pounded them with artillery and air strikes. Moscow says its aim is to disarm its neighbour and capture leaders it calls neo-Nazis. Ukraine and its Western allies call that a baseless pretext for a war to conquer the country of 44 million people.
Russia had already captured the defunct Chernobyl plant north of Kyiv, which spewed radioactive waste over much of Europe when it melted down in 1986. The Zaporizhzhia plant is a different and safer type.