Ukrainian drone crashes into nuclear plant as Russia threatens retaliation

A Ukrainian drone has struck a nuclear power plant in Russia as top Kremlin officials have warned there could be serious consequences after the alleged attack.

Posting on an official Telegram channel, a Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said: “The Russian Federation calls on all governments to strongly condemn Kyiv’s attack on the Kursk nuclear power plant.”

The Russian Foreign Ministry is also claiming the attack couldn’t have been carried out “without permission of Western handlers” before adding that Ukrainian troops were “on a par with the most odious terrorist organizations.”

It comes after Russian drones targeted a nuclear power plant in Ukraine on Wedneday.

The attack took place in the western Khmelnitskyi region near the plant, far from the frontlines.

Windows at the plant were shattered and 20 people were injured in the blasts. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, said that the explosions did not affect the plant’s operations but that some off-site radiation stations did lose power.

Speaking during his nightly address, Volodymyr Zelensky said: “The Khmelnytskyi Nuclear Power Plant, however, was the most likely target of this Russian drone strike. The shock wave also shattered windows on its premises.”

Ukraine claimed to have destroyed all 11 drones launched by Vladimir Putin’s forces overnight and said that the damage was caused by the blasts and falling debris.

The Energy Ministry wrote on the Telegram: “At night, the enemy struck territory near the Khmelnytskyi nuclear power plant. As a result of the explosion, windows in administrative and laboratory buildings have been damaged.”

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Russia’s defence ministry then claimed on Friday that its air defences had thwarted “an attempt by the Kyiv regime to carry out a terrorist attack” when they took out a drone late on Thursday close to Kurchatov in the southern region of Kursk.

Meanwhile, after rumours swirled that Putin had suffered a heart attack, and even that the he had died, the Russian leader has been pictured several times in the days since.

A Telegram channel General SVR, which claims to have Kremlin insiders, alleged the 71-year-old fell ill on Sunday following a “cardiac arrest” at his private home in Moscow.

The level of speculation that followed was such that the Kremlin was forced to issue a swift and furious denial.

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The reclusive Russian leader has made great efforts to emphasize his fitness and vitality over the years, with various choreographed clips showing him riding horseback bare-chested, playing ice hockey and showing off his judo skills.

But ever since Russia’s surprise invasion of Ukraine in February last year, there have been persistent claims that Putin’s health is failing, with reports that he had been receiving treatment for advanced cancer.

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