UN nuclear watchdog issues dire warning after shelling near Zaporizhzhia plant
‘Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire,’ the UN nuclear watchdog said
The head of the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog has issued a warning to Ukraine and Russia after shelling was reported in the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Earlier, it was reported that explosions were reported around the nuclear plant on Saturday night and Sunday morning.
Both Russia and Ukraine accused each other of attacking the plant in what the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has described as an "extremely disturbing" incident.
Calling for the shelling to stop, director general of the IAEA Rafael Grossi, said the latest attacks were “completely unacceptable”.
"Explosions occurred at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable," Mr Grossi said.
"Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately. As I have said many times before, you’re playing with fire."
Due to prior incidents at the plant, Mr Grossi had called both sides to implement a security zone to ensure the safety of the nuclear plant.
“I’m not giving up until this zone has become a reality. As the ongoing apparent shelling demonstrates, it is needed more than ever,” he added.
Earlier this month, officials reported that external power from the electric grid was cut off amid fighting forcing temporary measures to cool the six reactors. Diesel generators were used in order to maintain power at the time.
Russian forces have occupied the plant since the early days of the war. The plant is located in a region which Russia previously illegally annexed via a sham referendum, along with three other provinces.
Although Vladimir Putin signed a decree transferring the nuclear plant to Russian ownership, Ukrainian workers continue to run the plant.