Strikes at Ukrainian nuclear plant ‘alarming’, says UN watchdog chief | Ukraine

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog said on Saturday he was “alarmed” by Friday’s shelling of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya power plant, Europe’s largest such facility.

In a statement, Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the strikes were “the latest in a long series of increasingly alarming reports” and underlined “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster affecting the threaten public opinion. health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond”.

Earlier on Saturday, the plant operator said Friday’s shelling had “seriously damaged” a nitrogen and oxygen station and an “outbuilding”.

Ukraine and Russia blame each other for the attacks.

Grossi said: “I condemn all violent actions carried out in or near the factory or against the staff. He added that “military action that endangers the safety and security” of the factory “was completely unacceptable and at all costs.” should be avoided”.

Grossi also reiterated his willingness “to lead a mission of IAEA safety, security and security experts” to Zaporizhzhya.

Ukraine has so far rejected the idea of ​​such a mission, saying it would legitimize Russia’s presence at the site.

Russian troops have occupied the Zaporizhzhya factory since the early days of their invasion of Ukraine. Grossi, however, insisted that he “wouldn’t give up”.

“I will continue to push and push again for this IAEA mission to finally happen,” he said, admitting it would require “cooperation, understanding and facilitation from both Ukraine and Russia.”

As part of such a mission, “IAEA auditors can conduct essential factory verification activities” and the IAEA would also “provide unbiased and independent information” about the plant’s status, Grossi said.

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