Ukrainian drones strike town near Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Russia-installed official says

(Reuters) -A Russian-installed official said on Saturday that Ukrainian attack drones again struck Enerhodar, a town near the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, after drones earlier in the week hit two of the town's electric substations.

Eduard Senovoz, the top official in Enerhodar, said on Telegram that two drones exploded on Saturday in a residential area and a resident was hurt. Another drone was downed.

In attacks on Wednesday and Friday on Enerhodar, a few km (miles) from the nuclear plant, he previously said one of Enerhodar's substations was destroyed, while the other was damaged. Power was cut to most residents.

An official at the occupied Zaporizhzhia station, Europe's largest nuclear plant with six reactors, had initially reported that it was unaffected by those military actions.

But the Russian management of the station said on Telegram on Saturday, before the latest drone strikes, that some "infrastructure facilities" including the transport department and print shop experienced disruptions following the attacks earlier in the week.

Nuclear safety measures remained fully operational, it said.

Ukrainian officials have made no comment on the incidents and Reuters could not independently confirm the reports.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said the attacks exposed Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy's disregard for nuclear safety.

"In view of the Zelenskiy regime's total inability to negotiate anything, our country will take all necessary measures to deny the Kyiv regime all means of carrying out such strikes," Zakharova said on the ministry's website.

Russian troops seized the Zaporizhzhia plant in the early days of the February 2022 invasion, and Moscow and Kyiv have since routinely accused each other of endangering safety around it. It produces no electricity at the moment.

Russian news agencies quoted Yevgeny Yashin, director of communications at the Zaporizhzhia station, as saying the damaged substation in Enerhodar could be repaired.

Russia launched mass attacks on Ukrainian energy infrastructure in the first winter of the conflict and resumed a long series of attacks in March.

Kyiv says the renewed attacks have knocked out half of Ukraine's energy-generating capacity and forced blackouts.

Russian missiles and drones damaged energy facilities in southeastern and western Ukraine on Saturday, wounding at least two energy workers and forcing record electricity imports, officials said.

Ukraine has stepped up its use of drones this year to attack Russian oil facilities.

(Reporting by Ron Popeski; editing by Diane Craft, Alistair Bell and Cynthia Osterman)