Attacks on Ukraine nuclear plant ‘alarming’, says UN monitoring chief | Ukraine

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

In a statement, Rafael Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said the attacks represent “the latest in a long list of increasingly alarming reports” and underlined “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster.” that could threaten the population. health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond”.

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

Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other for the attacks.

Grossi said: “I condemn any violent act carried out in or near” the plant or against its staff. He added that “military action that jeopardizes the security” of the plant is “completely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs.”

Grossi also reiterated his willingness to “lead a mission of IAEA 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 Zaporizhzhia plant since the first days of their invasion of Ukraine. However, Grossi insisted that “he will not give up.”

“I will continue to push and push again to finally get this IAEA mission done,” he said, though he admitted it would require “cooperation, understanding and facilitation from both Ukraine and Russia.”

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

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