Rising concerns after shelling of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Rising concerns after shelling of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant
Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky. Credit: Belga

Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelensky called for new sanctions against Russia in response to the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Sunday.

"Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community - sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel," Zelensky said on Twitter.

Zelensky added that he had discussed matters with the President of the European Council, Charles Michel. On Friday, Ukrainian authorities accused Russian forces of carrying out three attacks near a reactor at the Zaporizhzhia power plant in the south, although Moscow has controlled that area since the invasion began.

Russian claimed that the Ukrainian armed forces were behind the attacks.

Rising concerns over damage to nuclear plant

UN watchdog for nuclear safety has urged all military operations near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to cease after it was hit by shelling, which made one of the reactors to shut down and establishing a "very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said he was "extremely concerned" by reports of damages at the plant and called for nuclear experts from IAEA to be allowed to examine the site, according to the Guardian.

"I’m extremely concerned by the shelling yesterday at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond," he said.

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Ukrainian nuclear power operator Energoatom said that attack damaged a power cable on the site which caused one of the reactors to stop working, increasing "risks of leaking hydrogen and radioactive substances, and the risk of fire is also high."

The shelling on the site "has caused a serious risk for the safe operation of the plant," said Grossi.

The EU's foreign affairs chief condemned the attack on Twitter, saying "this is a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules and another example of Russia’s disregard for international norms."


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