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Guterres: Don’t endanger safety of Zaporizhzhia power plant

This handout photo taken from video and released by Russian Defense Ministry Press Service on Aug 7, 2022, shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine which is now under Russian military control. (RUSSIAN DEFENSE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE VIA AP, FILE)

UNITED NATIONS/KYIV – The UN chief said on Thursday that he is "gravely concerned" about the situation unfolding in and around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.

"I have appealed to all concerned to exercise common sense and reason and not to undertake any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant," Antonio Guterres said in a statement.

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Ukraine and Russia have exchanged accusations over a strike on the Zaporizhzhia plant, which is one of the largest atomic power complexes in Europe and generates a quarter of Ukraine's total electricity.

I urge the parties to provide the IAEA mission with immediate, secure and unfettered access to the site.

Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary-general

In his statement, Guterres said the United Nations continues to fully support the critical work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and its efforts to ensure the safe operations of the Zaporizhzhia plant.

"I urge the parties to provide the IAEA mission with immediate, secure and unfettered access to the site," he said.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday that instead of making absurd remarks such as setting up a no-fly zone over the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, it is necessary for the IAEA to inspect the plant.

Zakharova said that Russia requested a UN Security Council meeting on the shelling of the Zaporizhzhia plant, and the international community should comprehensively assess the situation.

Kyiv for internation mission to assess threats

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba on Thursday called for an international mission to the Zaporizhzhia plant to assess the threats to nuclear safety, the Ukrinform news agency reported.

"I called for an international mission to be sent to Zaporizhzhia NPP under the leadership of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). I proposed to include United Nations military experts in it," Kuleba said at a media briefing.

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The minister said he had sent official letters to IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi and UN secretary-general, asking for the deployment of the mission.

Kyiv insisted that the mission arrive through the Ukrainian territory to the plant, which is currently under Russia's control, as soon as possible and, Kuleba said.