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Cease military activities around Ukraine's nuclear plant: UN

Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of shelling Europe's largest nuclear power plant

Russia Ukraine A general view of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in territory under Russian military control, southeastern Ukraine | AP

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres asked both Russia and Ukraine to cease military activities around Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant in Ukraine and exercise common sense.

In a statement, the UN Chief expressed concerns over attacking the nuclear power plant which is the largest such facility in Europe and warned that attacks on the plant could lead to disaster.

“I have appealed to all concerned to exercise common sense and reason and not to undertake any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant – the largest of its kind in Europe,” the UN Chief said in a statement.

Guterres called for immediate de-escalation of military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant and not to target its facilities or surroundings. “The facility must not be used as part of any military operation,” he said.

Guterres demanded both nations to provide immediate access to International Atomic Energy Agency to the site. He also warned that potential damage to Zaporizhzhia or any other nuclear facilities in Ukraine could lead to catastrophic consequences not only for the immediate vicinity, but for the region and beyond. “This is wholly unacceptable,” he said.

Ukraine's Energoatom agency said the Zaporizhzhia complex was struck five times on Thursday, including near where radioactive materials are stored, Reuters reported. Russian-appointed officials said Ukraine shelled the plant twice, the publication reported. 

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded Russia return the plant to Ukraine's control. "Only a full withdrawal of the Russians and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the station can guarantee a resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe," he said in a video address.

Reuters reported that Russia and Ukraine have previously accused each other of attacks on the site. Ukraine has also accused Russia of firing rockets at Ukrainian towns from around the captured nuclear power plant in the knowledge it would be risky for Ukraine to return fire, the publication reported.

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