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UN secretary-general: Fighting near Ukrainian nuclear plant 'could lead to disaster'

The UN secretary-general warned Thursday that conditions around a major nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine "could lead to catastrophic consequences," He appealed for the suspension of military operations in the vicinity. institution.

"Unfortunately, instead of de-escalating, there have been reports of more serious events over the past few days that could lead to disaster if they continue," said Antonio Guterres. said in a statement.

Russia took over the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in early March, stationed troops there, and staffed and operated it with Ukrainian staff.

Ukraine and Russia have blamed each other, and shelling has continued around the factory since Friday. Ukraine said the reactor was not damaged, but there was damage elsewhere on the site.

The UN Secretary-General urged parties not to use "common sense and reason" to target Zaporizhia. He called on them to immediately cease military activity near Europe's largest nuclear power plant and remove military personnel and equipment from the site.

"This facility must not be used as part of a military operation," Mr. Guterres said.

He said the two parties should urgently agree on a safe boundary for demilitarization to ensure security in the region.

"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." need to be clarified,' said the Secretary-General. "This is totally unacceptable."

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the United Nations nuclear oversight agency, has taken safety assurance measures to deploy a technical mission to check the site. I'm trying to get Guterres called on both parties to provide the team with "immediate, secure and free access."

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi is due to report to the UN Security Council on the situation on Thursday.

In his statement, he said he would discuss the need for the mission he was to personally direct.

"More than ever, his IAEA presence at nuclear power plants is paramount in mitigating the likelihood of a nuclear disaster," he said.

He said the mission will conduct critical safety and security checks and provide impartial and independent information on the status of the facility.

"Accidents at this power plant could threaten public health and the environment not only in Ukraine and neighboring countries, but even further afield," he warned the IAEA chief.