Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the world must "stop [Russia] before it's too late" in response to authorities' claims that Russian forces bombarded another nuclear power station in southern Ukraine overnight.
On September 19, he announced through Telegram that "a missile landed 300 meters from" the South Ukraine (Pivdennoukrayinsk) Nuclear Power Plant in the war-torn Mykolayiv area, causing a "short-term power outage."
According to Zelenskiy, windows at the facility were broken, and "the assailants planned to shoot again but forgot what a nuclear power plant was."
"Russia puts the whole globe in peril," Zelenskiy remarked. "We need to put a stop to it before it's too late."
Earlier in the day, Ukraine's national nuclear operator, Enerhoatom, accused Russian soldiers of hitting the Pivdennoukrayinsk facility and said that none of its three reactors had been damaged. Enerhoatom said early on September 19 that the plant is operational as usual.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations' nuclear watchdog, did not immediately respond to the assault.
Another Ukrainian nuclear facility, at Zaporizhzhya, approximately 250 kilometers to the east, which was taken by Russian troops in March, has been the focus of significant concern and urgent international calls for a demilitarized zone and the resumption of Ukrainian authority.
On September 18, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian soldiers of shelling civilian infrastructure with artillery, particularly in the city of Zaporizhzhya, where the larger facility is situated.
Over the weekend, power was allegedly restored to the Zaporizhzhya facility, easing worries of a catastrophic accident there.
However, the IAEA reported on September 19 that a power line used to feed the facility had been unplugged, leaving it without grid backup power.
Since ordering the full-scale invasion in February and seizing Ukrainian nuclear facilities, Zelenskiy and some Western leaders have accused Russian President Vladimir Putin of waging "nuclear terrorism" and "nuclear blackmail," as well as hinting at a possible nuclear response if the conflict in Ukraine threatens Russia broadly.
Enerhoatom condemned the Pivdennoukrayinsk explosion on Telegram, quoting Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko and posting a video of radiant light and boom that seemed to barely miss a structure at the site.
"In desperation, Russia is bringing the world to the edge of a nuclear tragedy," Halushchenko was reported as saying.
Russia has repeatedly accused Ukrainian troops of shelling near Zaporizhzhya, which Kyiv claims was caused by Russian artillery or rockets.