Bombing of a nuclear power plant in Ukraine: “The time is serious”, warns the head of the IAEA

Bombing of a nuclear power plant in Ukraine: “The time is serious”, warns the head of the IAEA

Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of several strikes that occurred on Thursday on the Zaporijjia power plant. kyiv speaks of Russian bombardments near radioactive substances.

UN chief warns of ‘catastrophe’ in Zaporizhia AFP

“The situation is serious”, launched Thursday August 11 the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) before the Security Council of the United Nations, demanding access to the nuclear power plant of Zaporijjia that Moscow and kyiv accuse each other of having bombed. “The situation is serious and the IAEA must be authorized to carry out its mission in Zaporijjia as quickly as possible”, declared Rafael Grossi, speaking on video during this emergency meeting of the Security Council. “Time is running out,” he insisted, as the IAEA has been trying for weeks to send a mission to inspect the plant.

The site of the Zaporijjia power plant, the largest in Europe, under Russian control since the beginning of March, was again bombed on Thursday, kyiv and Moscow accusing each other again of being responsible. “The situation is getting worse (…), several radiation sensors have been damaged”, as has “the sewage pumping station”, noted the Ukrainian state company Energoatom, according to which strikes occurred near a reactor and “in the direct vicinity of a deposit of radioactive substances”.

A pro-Russian official, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the administration installed by Moscow in this occupied region of southern Ukraine, for his part questioned on Telegram “the fighters (of Ukrainian President Volodymyr) Zelensky”, citing five strikes. “The grass caught fire in a small area, but no one was injured,” read the Russian and Ukrainian press releases. The two sources then reported several other projectiles that fell near a fire station near the plant.

Vladimir Rogov asserted that these bombardments had been carried out by means of multiple rocket launchers and heavy artillery pieces from the right bank of the Dnieper. He notably cited the town of Marganets, where 13 Ukrainian civilians were killed on Wednesday in Russian bombardments, according to Ukrainian authorities. Several bombings of which the two parties accuse each other have targeted the Zaporizhia power plant last week, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

Concerns of the international community

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Thursday called on the international community to “react immediately” to get the Russians out of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant. “Only the total withdrawal of the Russians (…) would guarantee nuclear security for all of Europe”. UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres also warned Thursday of a risk of “catastrophe”. Russian troops took control of the plant on March 4, shortly after the February 24 invasion of Ukraine began. “The site must not be used in the context of military operations”, insisted the UN Secretary General, calling for the creation of a “demilitarized perimeter to ensure the security of the area”, which Washington has decided to support this Thursday. These statements come as the UN Security Council met urgently Thursday afternoon to discuss the situation, at the request of Russia.

No radioactive leak was detected after the strikes that targeted Zaporizhia, said an official of the pro-Russian occupation administration. “At the moment, no contamination has been detected at the station and the level of radioactivity is normal”, declared on Telegram Evguéni Balitski, head of the civil and military administration set up in this region of the south of Russian-controlled Ukraine. According to Evguéni Balitski, “several tons” of radioactive waste are stored on the site, and a strike on this deposit “would make the whole territory unfit for life”. He also claimed that the smoke rising near the site, visible on videos circulating on social networks, came from a fire which broke out in a field after the rupture of a power line. “The firefighters are on the way,” he said.

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