Strikes on Ukrainian nuclear power plant ‘alarming’, says UN monitoring chief | Ukraine

The head of the UN’s nuclear watchdog said on Saturday he was “alarmed” by Friday’s bombing of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power station, the largest such facility in Europe.

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

Earlier on Saturday, the plant operator said Friday’s bombardment had “severely damaged” a station containing nitrogen and oxygen and an “auxiliary building”.

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of having committed these attacks.

Grossi said: “I condemn any act of violence committed in or near” the plant or against its staff. He added that “military action jeopardizing the safety and security” of the plant was “completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs”.

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

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

Russian troops have occupied the factory in Zaporizhzhia since the first days of their invasion of Ukraine. However, Grossi insisted he ‘won’t give up’.

“I will keep pushing and pushing to make this IAEA mission finally happen,” he said, while admitting it would require “cooperation, understanding and facilitation from the ‘Ukraine and Russia’.

Under such a mission, “IAEA safeguards inspectors could conduct essential verification activities at the plant” and the IAEA would also “provide impartial and independent information” on the state of the factory, Grossi said.

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