Zelensky: Ukrainian nuclear power plant ‘one step away from a radiation disaster’

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky warned that a nuclear power plant is “one step away from a radiation disaster” because Russian shelling damaged one of its power transmission lines on Monday.

“Today the last power transmission line connecting the plant to the energy system of Ukraine was damaged due to another Russian provocative shelling. Again — this is the second time — due to Russian provocation, the Zaporizhzhia plant is one step away from a radiation disaster,” Zelensky said during a presidential address.

“I consider the fact that Russia is doing this right now, right on the eve of the IAEA [International Atomic Energy Agency] conclusions, very eloquent. Shelling the territory of the ZNPP [Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant] means that the terrorist state does not care what the IAEA says, it does not care what the international community decides. Russia is interested only in keeping the situation the worst for the longest time possible,” he continued.

The Ukrainian president urged the international community to recognize Moscow as a terrorist state and to bolster sanctions against it.

The IAEA separately issued an update on Monday saying that Ukraine had reached out to the agency to let the IAEA know that a backup power line, connected in part to the ZNPP, needed to be disconnected in order to address a fire but that there were no damages.

The developments come as two IAEA experts are set to remain on-site to monitor the nuclear power plant as the Russian military has shelled the Zaporizhzhia plant for the last month, creating fears of a possible nuclear incident.

“Director General [Raphael Mariano] Grossi will on Tuesday issue a report about the nuclear safety, security and safeguards situation in Ukraine – including the findings from the mission to the ZNPP – and later the same day brief the United Nations Security Council about the mission to the plant,” the IAEA said in its update.

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