On Thursday, Antonio Guterres, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, called for military activities around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex to end.
According to Ukraine’s Energoatom agency, the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine has deteriorated. Its complex was struck five times, including in the area where radioactive material was stored, on Thursday, with Ukraine and Russia again blaming each other for the attack.
Russian appointed officials said Ukraine shelled the plant twice, disrupting a shift changeover, Russia’s TASS news agency said.
In his remarks to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on Thursday, Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the nuclear watchdog agency-the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), described a rapidly deteriorating situation at the plant as “very alarming.”
Furthermore, the United Nations chief, Antonio Guterres, warned that any damage could result in “catastrophic consequences” in the region and beyond.
He stated in a statement, “The facility must not be used as part of any military operation. Instead, an urgent agreement is needed at a technical level on a safe perimeter of demilitarization to ensure the safety of the area.”
"Any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia or any other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, or anywhere else, could lead to catastrophic consequences."
— @antonioguterres expresses grave concern about situation in & around Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. https://t.co/aLppSvn22A pic.twitter.com/69AQIbPMx7
— United Nations (@UN) August 11, 2022
“I am calling for all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant to cease immediately and not to target its facilities or surroundings,” the chief said in the statement. (UN News)
Previously, the chief of the nuclear agency, IAEA, had warned about the situation at Zaporizhzhia, which was occupied by Russia in March, soon after the invasion. Despite being seized by the Russian forces, the plant is still operated by Ukrainian officials.
Furthermore, in a video address, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelenskyy said, “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.” (The Indian Express)
France also echoed the Ukrainian president’s demand. The French foreign ministry stated in a statement that “the presence and actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences.”