The director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, expressed this Saturday “extremely worried” about yesterday’s bombing of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, under Russian occupation in Ukrainian territory.
“I am extremely concerned about yesterday’s bombings [sexta-feira] of the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, which underlines the very real risk of a nuclear catastrophe that threatens public health and the environment, in Ukraine and beyond”, warned Grossi in a statement released in Vienna, considering that “we are playing with the fire”.
Moscow and Kiev accused each other of compromising the safety of the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe.
Grossi recalled that, according to Ukrainian authorities, there was no damage to the reactors or emission of radiation, but there was damage to other parts of the plant.
The head of the United Nations nuclear energy agency considered putting the plant in danger “completely unacceptable” and argued that targeting it militarily is “playing with fire” and could have “potentially catastrophic consequences”.
“I strongly and urgently appeal to all parties to exercise maximum containment in the vicinity of this important nuclear facility with six reactors,” he wrote.
Grossi again offered the IAEA’s availability to carry out an on-site verification mission and “prevent the situation from getting even further out of control”.
The IAEA director expressed in June his willingness to visit the Russian-controlled plant, but Ukraine has vehemently criticized these plans, claiming that the Argentine UN official’s trip could be understood as legitimizing the Russian occupation.
The diplomat insisted that a mission was “crucial” in order to stabilize the situation at the nuclear plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymir Zelensky accused Russia through a video message of “recreating an extremely dangerous situation for the whole of Europe”: “they bombed the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant twice”.
Moscow, which has controlled this facility practically since the early days of its military campaign in Ukraine, disputed the statements, calling Kiev, for its part, a promoter of “nuclear terrorism”.
“Ukraine’s attacks on nuclear facilities can be qualified under international law as acts of nuclear terrorism,” Russian senator Konstantin Kosachev said on the social network Telegram.
Pro-Russian authorities in the region of Zaporiyia, partially occupied by the Russian army, yesterday accused Ukrainian forces of attacking the nuclear power plant with artillery and damaging electrical lines and industrial buildings at the plant.
The attack led to the closure of one of the nuclear blocks after a loss of power.