Network data from NetBlocks confirm significant disruption to telecommunications and internet service in and around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, southeast Ukraine from the morning of 4 March 2022, as Russian forces approached the facility. Further disconnections have subsequently been tracked limiting mobile connectivity in the region, leaving the site largely isolated as Russia moves to reinforce its position.
The disconnection of fixed-line internet and some mobile service in and around the #Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in #Ukraine is raising concerns over public safety, with radiation levels no longer published and the IAEA unable to monitor.
📰 Report: https://t.co/h7QnPQm2RD pic.twitter.com/PY9OKVUACc
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 7, 2022
The plant’s online radiation monitoring platform at npp.zp.ua also became unavailable with the service displaying an error from the 4th of March onward.
On the morning of Sunday 6 March 2022, further internet disruptions were registered affecting cellular connectivity in Energodar, the city supporting the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, as residents reported a widespread loss of mobile service:
⚠️ Confirmed: Network data show a loss a connectivity to the network serving Vodafone in #Energodar, southeast #Ukraine, where users report disruption to mobile services as Russian forces move to occupy #Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
📰 Background: https://t.co/S0qJQ7CbNv pic.twitter.com/jzumr9lip8
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 6, 2022
Later on Sunday 6 March 2022, the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that it was no longer able to receive “reliable information” from the nuclear plant, citing the contravention of number 7 of the indispensable pillars of the agency: “There must be reliable communications with the regulator and others.”
ℹ️ Update: The International Atomic Energy Agency has issued a statement on #Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, noting the contravention of number 7 of the indispensable pillars: “There must be reliable communications with the regulator and others.”
📰 https://t.co/SVmToR8I7u pic.twitter.com/vAEDiJICiZ
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 6, 2022
On 8 March, the IAEA raised additional concerns over the loss of telemetry transmissions from the mothballed Chernobyl nuclear power plant:
⚠️ Update: The International Atomic Energy Agency says remote data transmission from monitoring systems at #Ukraine's mothballed #Chernobyl nuclear plant has been lost. The incident follows a loss of data from #Zaporizhzhia.
📰 https://t.co/xpBU4PQUpd https://t.co/ALOEzwTjaH
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) March 8, 2022
On 25 August 2022, a major telecommunications disruption was registered as Energoatom reported the first complete disconnection of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant:
⚠️ Confirmed: Metrics show a major disruption to communications at #Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, #Ukraine, amid Russian hostilities.
The NPP has been completely disconnected from the grid for the first time in history per Energoatom.
📰 Background: https://t.co/2L7yAznx6a pic.twitter.com/d7AGIc3Hf3
— NetBlocks (@netblocks) August 25, 2022
Network connectivity was restored in the vicinity of Zaporizhzhia the following day, on Friday 26 August, as Energoatom reported that one of the plant’s six generators had been reconnected to Ukraine’s power grid.
The latest disconnections have raised concerns over nuclear security, and come amid a series of outages and network disruptions as Russia targets telecommunications infrastructure and as power is lost in regions seeing the heaviest combat.
Work is ongoing to assess the incidents and their contexts. Telecoms disruptions in Ukraine have so far been attributed to power outages, cyberattacks, sabotage, and kinetic impacts.
What’s happening in Ukraine?
Russian leader Vladimir Putin announced military mobilization on the morning of Thursday 24 February 2022, and artillery rounds were fired while troops moved into Kharkiv about 25 miles from the Russian border. As the security situation deteriorated over the subsequent days Ukrainian authorities advised civilians to get off the streets and seek shelter.
- Difficulty contacing Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant: Russians cut off the internet and communication – Cyberdefence24
- Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant completely disconnected from the grid – Netblocks – Cybernews
- Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant reconnected to power grid – Axios
- Ukraine’s giant nuclear plant goes dark after fire and shelling attack – Metro
- Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was disconnected from the grid for the first time in its history amid nearby fighting, state operator says – Business Insider
- Propaganda, fake videos of Ukraine invasion bombard users – AP
- Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Is Already Taking Down the Internet – VICE
- Internet in Ukraine disrupted as Russian troops advance – Reuters
- Telecoms blackout reported in northeastern Ukraine, first major outage so far – VentureBeat
- Cyber-attacks bring down many Ukraine websites – BBC
- Mobile internet returns to Vodafone subscribers in Luhansk – The Guardian
- Incident of unidentified cause impacts connectivity in Luhansk, Ukraine – La Patilla
- Ukraine Defense Ministry, banks hit by cyberattack amid tensions with Russia – The Hill
- Ukraine Ministry of Defense confirms DDoS attack; state banks loses connectivity – ZDNet
- Ukraine Hit with Cyberattacks as Tensions with Russia Continue – Gizmodo
- Ukraine faces more cyberattacks amid Russian invasion fears – Engadget
- Ukraine’s defence ministry and two banks targeted in cyberattack – Euronews
NetBlocks diffscans, which map the IP address space of a country in real time, show internet connectivity levels and corresponding outages. Purposeful internet outages may have a distinct network pattern used by NetBlocks to determine and attribute the root cause of an outage, a process known as attribution which follows detection and classification stages.
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