U.N. Sounds Alarm over ‘Suicidal’ Russian Attack on Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant

·2 min read

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres raised concern Monday about damage done to the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, calling the attack “suicidal.”

The nuclear power plant, which is the largest in Europe, was hit by shelling over the weekend, damaging three radiation censors and an electrical power line, according to Ukrainian reports. The plant has been under Russian control since March but is still being operated by Ukrainian technicians.

“Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” Guterres told reporters in Tokyo after attending the anniversary of the first atomic bombing.

Guterres also called on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to be given access to the plant, which is almost twice the size of Chernobyl, and said he hopes “these attacks will end.”

When asked how the U.N. would respond if Russia used a nuclear weapon on Ukraine, Guterres said, there probably wouldn’t be a “U.N able to respond anymore” and that “we all might not be here anymore.”

Zaporizhzhia is located in Eastern Ukraine, where Russia has been focusing its attacks after unsuccessfully attempting to capture the capital of Kyiv.

The director of the IAEA told the Associated Press on Tuesday the plant is “completely out of control” and asked the two countries to allow international experts to visit the plant.

“Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated” at the plant, he said, according to the outlet. “What is at stake is extremely serious and extremely grave and dangerous.”

Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of shelling the plant, with Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky calling the attack “Russian nuclear terror.”

“Russian nuclear terror requires a stronger response from the international community – sanctions on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel,” Zelensky wrote on Twitter following talks with European Commission president Charles Michel.

Russia has claimed Ukraine was responsible for the attack on the nuclear power plant, calling on the IAEA to condemn Kyiv’s actions.

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