UN Secretary-General calls bombing around Ukrainian nuclear power plant ‘suicidal’
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has called recent artillery and missile fire around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in central Ukraine “suicidal.”
“Any attack on nuclear power plants is suicidal,” Guterres told reporters in Tokyo.
“I hope these attacks will end,” he said, calling for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to have access to the plant.
The Zaporizhia plant is the largest in Europe and occupies a large site on the Dnipro River. Since Russian forces captured it in early March, it has continued to operate at a reduced capacity, with Ukrainian technicians still working.
Fears about the safety of the plant have been growing since Russian forces took over the site, but reached a turning point last week when bombardments damaged a high-voltage power line and forced one of the reactors to stop operating. of the plant, despite the fact that no radioactive leak was detected.
Ukraine’s state-owned energy company, Energoatom, said over the weekend that a worker was injured in Russian shelling around the plant, adding that radiation monitoring sensors were also damaged.
Meanwhile, Russia blames Ukraine for the bombing around the plant.
Russian-backed authorities in the nearest town, Energodar, said a Ukrainian missile fell less than 400 meters from one of the plant’s reactors. Energodar was taken over by Russian forces at the same time as the plant.
“Tonight, Ukrainian armed formations have attacked with a 220mm Uragan cluster rocket,” the local authority said, according to the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti.
“The administrative buildings and the adjacent territory of the dry barrel warehouse were damaged by the shells.”
CNN cannot verify the claims of either party.
The Russians have bombed the Ukrainian city of Nikopol from positions near the plant.
On Saturday, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said he was very concerned about the bombing “which underscores the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond.”