US warns Moscow not to divert power from Ukraine nuclear plant
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The United States cautioned Russia against redirecting energy from the site.
"The electricity that it produces rightly belongs to Ukraine and any attempt to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid and redirect to occupied areas is unacceptable," State Department spokesman Vedant Patel told reporters.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Ukraine had informed it the plant temporarily lost connection -- "further underlining the urgent need for an IAEA expert mission to travel to the facility".
"We can't afford to lose any more time. I'm determined to personally lead an IAEA mission to the plant in the next few days," the organisation's Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said.
White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre urged Russia to agree to a demilitarised zone around the plant and "allow the IAEA to visit as soon as possible to check on the safety."
President Volodymyr Zelensky described Russian actions around the plant as a menace.
"Russia has put Ukrainians as well as all Europeans one step away from radiation disaster," he said in his nightly address.
Zelensky said earlier on Thursday he had spoken with Biden and thanked him for the United States' "unwavering" support.
"We discussed Ukraine's further steps on our path to the victory over the aggressor and importance of holding Russia accountable for war crimes", Zelensky said on Twitter.
Earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree to increase the headcount of his country's army to more than two million, including 1.15 million servicemen, from next January, according to the document published on a government portal.
Putin last set the army headcount in 2017 at around 1.9 million people with 1.01 million soldiers.
The three other power lines "were earlier damaged during terrorist attacks" by Russian forces, the operator said.
It added that "start-up operations are under way to connect one of the reactors to the network".
Kyiv officials have said they believe Moscow has seized the station in order to divert power to the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia in 2014.
Energoatom could not be immediately reached for comment on whether the supply had been diverted, the cause of the ash pit fires, or the number of those without electricity.
However, the mayor of the city of Melitopol Ivan Fedorov said "Russian occupiers cut off the electricity in almost all occupied settlements of Zaporizhzhia".
- Independence day deaths -
Meanwhile on Thursday the death toll from an air strike on a train station in central Ukraine rose to 25, as the EU warned those "responsible for Russian rocket terror will be held accountable".
Russia issued a counter-claim saying it targeted soldiers and killed 200 Ukrainian servicemen in the attack Wednesday on a rail hub in Chaplyne city of the Dnipropetrovsk region.
On Thursday, state rail operator Ukrainian Railways said the toll had risen overnight from 22 to 25, and included two children with a further 31 people injured.
But EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell "strongly" condemned "another heinous attack by Russia on civilians".
Ukraine claimed Thursday to have repatriated 53 children it said were illegally taken to Russia for adoption but gave no details about the operation.