Russia calls for UN emergency meeting on Ukraine nuclear site

Russia calls for UN emergency meeting on Ukraine nuclear site

Moscow has accused Kiev of striking the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, risking a repeat of the Chernobyl disaster.

Russia has called for an emergency meeting of the UN Security CouncilUN Security Council to discuss the situation at Ukraine's Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which has been the subject of regular shelling attacks. Moscow wants the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to brief the council on the situation.

The move, which was reported by Russian media on Tuesday, was confirmed by the deputy head of Russia's mission to the UN, Dmitry Polyansky, who said the public needed to learn about Ukrainian provocations. The meeting is expected to take place on Thursday.

Russia says Ukraine has been responsible for a series of drone attacks and artillery strikes at the nuclear site. The latest shelling was reported last weekend.

Kiev denies the allegations and claims that Russia has shelled the facility to discredit Ukraine. Kiev's National Security Council has also alleged that Moscow was using the power plant as a military base, keeping heavy weapons and personnel there.

The IAEA has not had access to the site since the Russian-Ukrainian conflict escalated in late February and relies on reports from Ukraine to assess the situation on the ground. The plant in Zaporozhye is manned by Ukrainian nuclear workers despite being under Russian control.

On Saturday, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi expressed the concern of the artillery strikes, underlined the very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond. He stressed that he condemns any violent acts carried out at or near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant or its staff.

Grossi is expected to lead an independent assessment of the facility and verify that non-proliferation safeguards are in place.

The Zaporozhye plant is the largest in Europe and contains tens of tons of enriched uranium and plutonium in its reactor cores and waste fuel storage, according to the IAEA. The watchdog chief said he was alarmed that the security of radioactive materials could be compromised amid Russian-Ukrainian hostilities.

Both Kiev and Moscow stated that they were eager for the proposed inspection to take place. It has yet to materialize due to security concerns. The Russian foreign ministry said on Tuesday that the delay played into Kiev's hands by allowing it to continue its provocative attacks.

Moscow called on UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to use his authority to speed up the IAEA visit. Foreign ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova alleged in an interview on Wednesday that the UN Department of Safety and Security is acting irresponsibly by stalling the visit.

Guterres said last week that any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicide. Russian diplomats and military officials stated that attacks on the Zaporozhye power plant could cause a disaster worse than the Chernobyl reactor meltdown and steam explosion in 1986.