Ukraine: The head of the IAEA warns of “potential

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The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) under the United Nations, Rafael Grossi, warned on Saturday about the “potential catastrophic consequences” of Friday’s bombing of the perimeter of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, the one in Zaporizhzhya, located under control of the Russian occupation forces.

Ukraine announced that Russian forces had bombed the Enerhodar nuclear power plant near Zaporizhzhia in southeastern Ukraine, and Moscow blamed Kyiv for the incident.

A high voltage line was damaged in this attack, triggering the shutdown of one of the plant’s reactors.

The attack “highlights the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond,” said Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, in a lengthy statement published on the agency’s website. and quoted by Bloomberg.

Military activities around the plant, which Russia has occupied since March but is still operated by Ukrainian personnel, “are completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs,” he said.

“These things must stop right now!”

Almost all seven “indispensable pillars” of nuclear safety have been compromised in Zaporizhia in the past few months, including in the past 24 hours, Grossi added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said Russian troops bombed the plant twice on Friday and called for sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry.

“Any bombing of this site is a shameless crime, an act of terror. Russia must bear responsibility for the very fact that it created a threat to a nuclear power plant,” Zelenskiy said in his speech from Friday night to Saturday.

The Russian Defense Ministry has denied reports of its involvement, saying that Ukraine bombed its own plant.

Kremlin forces occupied the factory and surrounding areas in March. Britain said the Russian military was using the plant’s “protected status” to launch attacks on neighboring areas without fear of retaliation.

Heavy fighting is expected in the near future near the plant

The situation on the ground is expected to escalate in the area of ​​the Zaporizhzhya plant as Ukrainian forces launch a counter-offensive to recapture Russian-held territory in southeastern Ukraine.

In his statement, Grossi said there had been no damage to the nuclear reactors themselves and no release of radioactive material.

“However, there is damage in other parts of the site,” he said.

In turn, the state nuclear agency of Ukraine, Energoatom, sent on Telegram that the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant

“… it works with the risk of violating radiation and fire safety regulations. There remains a risk of hydrogen leakage and dispersal of radioactive particles, and the risk of fire is also high.”