UN nuclear watchdog alarmed by shelling at Ukraine plant

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UN nuclear watchdog alarmed by shelling at Ukraine plant

The head of the UN's nuclear watchdog said on Saturday he was alarmed by Friday s shelling at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia power plant, Europe's largest such facility.

In a statement by Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, said the strikes were the latest in a long line of alarming reports and underscored the very real risk of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine and beyond Earlier on Saturday, the plant s operator said that a station containing nitrogen and oxygen and an auxiliary building in Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for the attacks.

Grossi said he condemns any violent acts carried out at or near the plant or against its staff. He said military action that would jeopardize the safety and security of the plant was absolutely unacceptable and must be avoided at all costs. Grossi also stated his willingness to lead a mission of IAEA safety, security and safeguards experts to Zaporizhzhia.

Ukraine has rejected the idea of such a mission, which it says would legitimise Russia's presence at the site.

Russian troops have been occupying the Zaporizhzhia plant since the early days of their invasion of Ukraine. Grossi said that he would not give up and that he would continue to push and push again for the IAEA mission to take place, while he said that the IAEA safeguards inspectors could conduct essential verification activities at the plant and that the IAEA would provide impartial and independent information about the status of the plant.