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Ukrainian nuclear power plants face 'critical time', says UN watchdog

United Nations (CNN)The "worrisome" situation at the Russian-occupied nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine was described as a "critical moment." ” has been reached. The head of the United Nations nuclear watchdog called for an immediate inspection of the facility by international experts on Thursday. It warned that part of the nuclear power plant had been destroyed and that there was an "unacceptable" risk of potential radiation leaks.

"IAEA experts believe there is no imminent threat to nuclear safety," but "that could change at any moment," he said Grossi.

"Military actions that endanger nuclear safety and security must cease immediately," he added. "These military actions in the vicinity of such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences."

Europe's largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhia facility, It occupies a large plot of land on the Dnipro River near the Russian-occupied city of Enerkhodar. Since it was occupied by Russian forces in early March, Ukrainian technicians have been on the job, and it continues to operate at reduced capacity.

Russia and Ukraine have so far accused each other of being reluctant to agree to an IAEA inspection of the nuclear power plant and of shelling the facility.

Russia's UN ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzia on Thursday held Ukraine responsible for the shelling and urged supporters in Kyiv to stop the attack and prevent a disastrous radiation leak.

21} However, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky accused Moscow of endangering the whole of Europe:

Only restoring Ukraine's full control over the situation will ensure the restoration of nuclear safety throughout Europe," said Zelensky.

Ukrainian nuclear agency Energoatom said on Thursday that 10 shells landed near the complex, preventing a shift handover.

"For the safety of the nuclear workers, the buses carrying the next shift's personnel were turned back to Enerhoder," the agency said. "Workers from previous shifts will continue to work until the situation is finally normalized." said there is.

Some Western and Ukrainian officials believe that Russia is using its massive nuclear facilities as bases to protect its own forces and launch attacks.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken has accused Moscow of using the power plant to protect its military, while the UK Ministry of Defense in a recent security assessment Dmitro Orlov, Mayor of Enerkhodar, Ukraine, said in late July that Russian forces had used heavy weapons near the factory. said to have been observed. They can damage nuclear power plants.

The United States supported Ukraine's demand for a demilitarized zone around the facility on Thursday, but at the United Nations, Bonnie Jenkins, the U.S. Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Affairs, said Russia has a nuclear arsenal. He said he was responsible for the risks. plant.

She warned the UN Security Council that "the many consequences of this conflict, including the situation at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, will only end when Russia ends the war." did.

United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres, who previously called the factory shelling a "suicide", said in a statement Thursday that he was "extremely concerned". Stated.

"Potential damage to Zaporizhia or any other nuclear facility in Ukraine or elsewhere could have catastrophic consequences not only in the immediate vicinity, but in the region and beyond." We need to clarify," he said.