Ukraine has accused Russia of "openly engaging in nuclear blackmail" at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.

One of the most important advisers to the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Mykhailo Podoliak, wrote on Twitter on Monday.

The Russian troops occupying the nuclear power plant (NPP) and the surrounding area threatened all of Europe by "mining the NPP site, storing projectiles in the workshops and direct threats to leave 'scorched earth' behind by detonating".

Gerhard Gnauck

Political correspondent for Poland, Ukraine, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania based in Warsaw.

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Frederick Smith

Political correspondent for Russia and the CIS in Moscow.

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Earlier, also on Monday, the Ukrainian nuclear agency Enerhoatom reported on its Telegram channel about a message from a Russian general to his soldiers.

Major General Valeriy Vasilyev, who is part of the NBC protection troops, i.e. against nuclear, biological and chemical hazards, and who "now commands the garrison at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant," said: "We have mined all the important objects of the nuclear power plant."

The "enemy" - the Ukrainians - knew that and also knew that the nuclear power plant would either be owned by Russia or owned by nobody.

“We are prepared for the consequences of such a move.

When the most drastic order comes, we should carry it out with honor.”

After projectiles hit the power plant site on Friday and Saturday and a reactor block had to be shut down, Enerhoatom reported another case of shelling on Sunday afternoon.

The AKW employee Julia Janschula was injured by splinters and was "in moderate condition" in a hospital.

Ukrainian personnel work under Russian supervision

"Despite everything, the Ukrainian staff continues to work under inhumane conditions" to ensure radiation safety, it said.

The leading Russian media initially did not react to the Ukrainian reports of "extortion" and "mining".

Dmitry Peskov, the spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, then accused the Ukrainian side of shelling the nuclear power plant in Enerhodar in the Zaporizhia region.

He spoke on Monday of a "potentially very dangerous activity" that could have "catastrophic consequences for an enormous area, including the territory of Europe".

Countries that have "absolute influence over the Ukrainian leadership" should influence Kyiv "to rule out a continuation of such shelling".

The Russian leadership thus portrays the government in Kyiv as a Western puppet regime. The spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry said on Monday that the "Zelenskyi regime" committed a "new act of nuclear terrorism" at the nuclear power plant last Sunday in order to cause a "humanitarian catastrophe in the areas of Cherson and Zaporizhia”.

There is a threat of disconnection from the Ukrainian grid

As a result of Ukrainian shelling, a high-voltage power line carrying electricity to the two areas was damaged.

A "voltage jump" occurred, smoke developed, the power transmission was shut off, fire protection intervened and the technical staff finally reduced the output of two blocks of the power plant.

Ukrainian personnel work at the power plant under the supervision of Russian occupying forces.

At the end of May, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Marat Chusnullin said during a visit to the occupied parts of the Cherson and Zaporizhia regions that the nuclear power plant will only continue to “work for Ukraine” if Kyiv pays for the electricity, otherwise “for Russia”.

The Ukrainian energy authority had described this as "wishful thinking": Russia could build its own electricity connections, but that would take years.

However, experts on the Kiev portal warned on Monday that disconnecting the nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian grid could further aggravate the expected “hardest winter in its history” in the country.