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Ukraine updates: Power temporarily cut at Zaporizhzhia plant

Published December 2, 2023last updated December 2, 2023

Ukrainian authorities said a "catastrophe" was avoided after a power line was restored. Germany has finished training a second batch of Ukrainian troops to use the Patriot air defense system. Follow DW for the latest.

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant seen from Nikopol
Ukrainian officials and international observers have raised concern about the risk of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhzhia power plantImage: Ercin Erturk/AA/picture alliance
Skip next section What you need to know

What you need to know

Ukraine said a nuclear "catastrophe" was averted after two power lines connecting the Zaporizhzhia power plant to the grid were cut overnight.

Although the plant is no longer generating energy, one of its reactors still requires electricity because it has not been completely switched off.

The power plant was able to run off generators for several hours until one of the power lines was restored on Saturday.

In Russia, authorities are reportedly paying off the wives of soldiers to quash dissent about their deployment in Ukraine.

Meanwhile, Germany's army has finished training its second group of Ukrainian soldiers to use the US-made Patriot air defense system.

Skip next section Ukraine's security service alleges Russian plot involving ex-president
December 2, 2023

Ukraine's security service alleges Russian plot involving ex-president

 Former Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko gives an interview in Kyiv in 2022
Zelenskyy and Poroshenko fought a bitter, often deeply personal battle in the 2019 presidential electionImage: Kyodo/picture alliance

Ukraine's security service said Saturday it had prevented former president Petro Poroshenko from leaving the country because he planned to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

Poroshenko said he had been stopped from leaving the country on Friday by Ukrainian border guards in what he described as a politically motivated bid to disrupt his work.

His party, European Solidarity, said Poroshenko only had scheduled meetings in Poland and the United States.

Ukraine's SBU security services said the former leader was turned back due to his planned meeting with Orban, who "systematically expresses an anti-Ukrainian position." 

They also alleged Moscow planned to use the meeting "in its information and psychological operations against Ukraine."

The SBU did not provide any evidence for their claims. 

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote on X, formerly Twitter, that Hungary "does not wish to play any part in President Zelenskyy's internal political struggles." 

Skip next section Russia reportedly paying soldiers' wives to keep quiet: UK intelligence
December 2, 2023

Russia reportedly paying soldiers' wives to keep quiet: UK intelligence

Russia is reportedly paying off the wives of soldiers in an attempt to silence criticism about the war in Ukraine, according to the UK Defence Ministry.

"The Russian authorities are likely attempting to quash public dissent by wives of deployed Russian soldiers, including by attempting to pay them off and discrediting them online," the ministry said in an intelligence update on Saturday.

"Research by independent Russia media outlets and comments by protesting wives themselves suggest that, in recent weeks, the authorities have likely offered increased cash payments to families in return for them refraining from protest," it added.

The ministry pointed to recent protests, including small demonstrations in Moscow and a manifesto published by a prominent social media group for soldiers' wives.

It said Russian authorities were likely "particularly sensitive" about citizens who were mobilized in September 2022, who have now been fighting for more than a year.

Skip next section Zaporizhzhia avoids 'catastrophe' after power lines cut
December 2, 2023

Zaporizhzhia avoids 'catastrophe' after power lines cut

The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was put at risk of a "catastrophe" overnight after two power lines that connected it to the electricity grid were temporarily cut, Ukrainian authorities said.

Ukraine's Energy Ministry said that one power line was disrupted late on Friday night while the other was broke in the early hours of Saturday morning.

"This is the eighth blackout which occurred at the ZNPP and could have led to nuclear catastrophe," it said.

In response, "due to the complete blackout, the nuclear power plant switched to powering its own needs from 20 diesel generators."

A few hours later, workers repaired one of the power lines and reconnected the plant to the grid.

The International Atomic Energy Agency confirmed on Saturday that the Zaporizhzhia power plant temporarily lost off-site power overnight. Its inspectors monitor safety at the plant. 

The Zaporizhzhia power plant has been occupied by Russian forces since March 2022 and is no longer generating electricity. However, it still needs a power supply to cool one of its four nuclear reactors, which has not been completely shut down and remains in a state of "hot conservation."

Skip next section German army trains second group of Ukrainians to use Patriot system
December 2, 2023

German army trains second group of Ukrainians to use Patriot system

Germany's army has completed training a second batch of Ukrainian soldiers to use the Patriot air defense system, Germany's DPA news agency reported on Saturday.

The training took place at an undisclosed Bundeswehr air force base.

Lieutenant General Andreas Marlow, commander of the multinational Special Training Command, said the focus was on defending Ukraine's airspace.

The Patriot system one of the most sophisticated air defenses in the world. Germany has recently pledged to supply Ukraine with an additional unit of the system as part of its winter package.

Many of the Ukrainian troops have previous experience with air defense systems like the S-300 designed during the Soviet era.

A Ukrainian soldier standing on top of a truck used for the Patriot air defense system
The Ukrainian troops were trained at an undisclosed location in GermanyImage: Sebastian Christoph Gollnow/dpa