The Atomic Energy agency warned that there is “a real risk of nuclear disaster” due to the bombing in Zaporizhzhia

A serviceman with a Russian flag on his uniform stands guard near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar, in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, on August 4, 2022. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko) (ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/)

The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Argentine Rafael Grossi, declared this Saturday very concerned about Friday’s bombing of Europe‘s largest atomic plantunder Russian occupation in Ukrainian territory, and warned that you are “playing with fire” and there is a risk of a “nuclear disaster”.

“I am extremely concerned about yesterday’s bombing of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which underscores the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond”Grossi warned in a statement released in Vienna.

After yesterday’s attacks against the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, denounced by the pro-Russian authorities, Moscow and kyiv accused each other of putting the safety of the nuclear facility at risk.

Grossi recalls that, according to the Ukrainian authorities, there was no damage to the reactors themselves or radiological emissions, but there was damage to other parts of the plant.

The head of the UN nuclear agency considered “Completely unacceptable” to endanger the plant and assured that directing any projectile there is “playing with fire” and could have “potentially catastrophic consequences”.

“I make a strong and urgent appeal to all parties to exercise the utmost restraint in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility, with its six reactors”, he demanded.

Grossi again offered that the IAEA carry out a verification mission on the ground and thus “prevent the situation from getting even more out of control.”

File photo: A man crosses a road near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on the outskirts of the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar on August 4, 2022. (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)
File photo: A man crosses a road near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on the outskirts of the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar on August 4, 2022 (REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko) (ALEXANDER ERMOCHENKO/)

The IAEA director was willing in June to visit the plant under Russian control, but Ukraine vehemently criticized these plans, considering that the trip by the UN official could mean some kind of legitimization of the Russian occupation.

The Argentine diplomat insisted that it was “crucial” a mission to be able to stabilize the situation in the nuclear plant.

the ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelenskylashed out in a video message against Russia by stating that “the occupiers created another extremely dangerous situation for all of Europe: they bombed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant twice.”

Whoever creates a nuclear threat to other countries is not in a position to use nuclear technology responsibly”, Zelensky said and asked Russia to take responsibility for the attack which he described as “terrorist act”.

Moscow, which controls this facility practically from the first days of its military campaign in Ukrainequestioned these statements and in turn described kyiv as promoting “nuclear terrorism”.

“Ukraine’s attacks on nuclear facilities can be qualified under international law as acts of nuclear terrorism,” Russian Senator Konstantin Kosachev said on Telegram.

The pro-Russian authorities of the Zaporizhzhia region, partially occupied by the Russian Army, accused the Ukrainian forces on Friday of attacking the nuclear power plant with their artillery and damaging the power lines and industrial buildings of the plant.

The attack led to the shutdown of one of the nuclear blocks after power was lost.

According to the Ukrainian state company Energoatom, on Friday night there were two attacks to the nuclear power plant. There was no release of radioactivity and currently only two of the six reactors are active.

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry stated that, in the event of an attack affecting an operating reactor, the consequences would be similar to those of the explosion of an atomic bomb.

(With information from EFE)


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