Risk of nuclear 'terrorism' at Zaporizhzhia plant

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Risk of nuclear 'terrorism' at Zaporizhzhia plant

The mayor of the city where it is located said the risk of a nuclear plant in Europe is increasing every day, after Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the shelling around the facility.

Since March, the Zaporizhzhia plant in southeast Ukraine has been occupied by Russian forces, and Kyiv has accused Moscow of basing hundreds of soldiers and storing arms there.

The possibility of a nuclear catastrophe is raised by the fact that the facility has come under fire repeatedly in the past week.

"What is happening there is outright nuclear terrorism, and it can end unpredictably at any moment," said Dmytro Orlov, mayor of Energodar city where the plant is based.

The risks are increasing every day, he told AFP by phone from the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhzhia.

He said there was mortar shelling on the plant every day and night. The situation is hazardous, and what is the most concern is that there is no de-escalation process.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously accused Russia of nuclear blackmail and used the plant to intimidate people in an extremely cynical way. He also said Russian troops were hiding behind the plant to stage bombings in the Ukrainian-controlled towns of Nikopol and Marganets.

The pro-Moscow officials in the occupied areas of Zaporizhzhia blamed Ukrainian forces for the shelling.

Missiles fell in the areas on the banks of the Dnipro River and in the plant said Vladimir Rogov, a member of the Moscow-installed administration, did not report any casualties or damage.

The river divides the areas occupied by Russia and those under Ukraine's control.

Orlov said over the past 24 hours, Energodar he left at the end of April, was shelled for the first time, leading to a dramatic increase in those hoping to evacuate.

He warned that there may not be enough personnel to man the station in the near future due to safety fears.