KYIV: Russia is using Europe’s largest nuclear power plant as a base to store weapons including “missile systems” and shell the surrounding areas in Ukraine, an official with Kyiv’s nuclear agency said Friday, while nearly the entire country was placed on air raid alert. The president of Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom said the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was “extremely tense”, with up to 500 Russian soldiers controlling the plant. “The occupiers bring their machinery there, including missile systems, from which they already shell the other side of the river Dnipro and the territory of Nikopol,” Pedro Kotin said in a televised interview, referring to the city across the water. The plant in southwestern Ukraine has been under Russian control since the early weeks of Moscow’s invasion, though it is still being operated by Ukrainian staff. The most recent attack in the Dnipro region left three dead and 15 wounded after Russian “missiles hit an industrial enterprise and lively street nearby”, regional governor Valentin Reznichenko said on Telegram. The threat of air raids across most of Ukraine was also raised after strikes were reported in areas far from the front lines, with President Volodymyr Zelensky saying the Russian objective was to “cause maximum damage to Ukrainian cities”. “I’m urging you, once again: please don’t ignore the air raid signals now,” he said in his daily televised address. Zelensky spoke after devastating Russian strikes in the central Ukrainian city of Vinnytsia killed nearly two dozen people, including three children, with rescue workers clearing debris throughout the day to locate survivors. Four people were still missing and over 200 wounded, Zelensky said. “Both at the national level and the international level, we will do everything to hold absolutely all Russian murderers responsible for what they have done,” he said.