URGENT NEWS: Ukranian Nuclear Plant Temporarily Cut Off From Power Grid in This Increasingly Volatile War

FILE – A man walks on a pedestrian crossing point near the Dnipro river and Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant on the other side in Nikopol, Ukraine, Aug, 22, 2022. Ukrainians are once again anxious and alarmed about the fate of a nuclear power plant in a land that was home to the world’s worst atomic accident in 1986 at Chernobyl. The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russian forces since early in the war, and continued fighting nearby has heightened fears of a catastrophe that could affect nearby towns in southern Ukraine or beyond. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletka, File)

URGENT NEWS: Ukranian Nuclear Plant Temporarily Cut Off From Power Grid in This Increasingly Volatile War

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the middle of the fighting in Ukraine was temporarily cut off from the electrical grid Thursday because of fire damage, causing a blackout in the region and heightening fears of a catastrophe in a country haunted by the Chernobyl disaster.

The plant, Europe’s largest, has been occupied by Russian forces since the early days of the war. The government in Kyiv alleges Russia is essentially holding the plant hostage, storing weapons there and launching attacks from around it, while Moscow accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the facility.

On Thursday, the plant was cut off from the grid for the first time after fires damaged a transmission line, according to Ukraine’s nuclear power operator. The damaged line apparently carried outgoing electricity — and thus the region lost power, according to Yevgeny Balitsky, the Russia-installed governor. As a result of the damage, the two reactors still in use went offline, he said, but one was quickly restored, as was electricity to the area.