The UN asks to demilitarize Zaporizhia after new attacks on the nuclear power plant

Far from reducing the attacks on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, as requested by the international community and the international atomic regulators in fear of a catastrophe; New missiles fell Thursday on the plant in southeastern Ukraine, occupied by Russian troops since March, but operated by employees of the Ukrainian state company Energoatom.

NewsEditor
NewsEditor
14 August 2022 Sunday 14:36
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The UN asks to demilitarize Zaporizhia after new attacks on the nuclear power plant

Far from reducing the attacks on the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, as requested by the international community and the international atomic regulators in fear of a catastrophe; New missiles fell Thursday on the plant in southeastern Ukraine, occupied by Russian troops since March, but operated by employees of the Ukrainian state company Energoatom. Two of them denounce to the BBC that they work at gunpoint while the security situation deteriorates at times.

Russia and Ukraine maintain the crossing of accusations for the bombings against the plant near the city of Energodar, where the artillery fire has intensified in the last two weeks. With some 120 missiles flying in a single night, the BBC reports. Meanwhile, the UN chief urges the establishment of a demilitarized zone.

The UN Security Council met on Thursday to discuss the situation. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on both sides to stop all fighting near the plant, which Kyiv says is being used as a military base by Russian forces. "The facility should not be used as part of any military operation. On the contrary, it is necessary to reach an urgent agreement at the technical level on a demilitarization perimeter to guarantee the security of the area," Guterres said in a statement. Petition that had the support of the United States.

The Russian ambassador, who blames Kyiv for the attacks, Vassili Nebenzia, warned the UN that the world was being pushed "to the brink of a nuclear catastrophe, comparable in scale to Chernobyl". The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) warned the Council that the situation has become "very alarming". Its director, Rafael Grossi, explained that the plant has suffered serious damage, although "there is still no immediate threat." But "the situation could worsen at any time," he warned as he requested access to inspect the plant. The visit will be possible this month, the Russian ambassador said.

According to Energoatom, five missiles hit the Zaporizhia power plant on Thursday, including near where radioactive material is stored. Russia confirmed two of the attacks and claimed that one of them interrupted a shift change, according to the Russian news agency TASS.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has demanded that Russia return the plant to Ukraine's control. "Only a total withdrawal of the Russians ... and the restoration of full Ukrainian control of the situation around the plant can guarantee the resumption of nuclear security for all of Europe," he said in a video address. France seconded Zelensky's demand, saying Russia's occupation of the site endangered the world.

Russian senator Vladimir Dzhabarov considered this Friday "sensible" the initiative to create a demilitarized zone: "We are going to support it." Still, he insisted that control over the atomic facility must be Russian."Russia must maintain control of the station," he asserted.

Kyiv and Moscow have blamed each other for the attacks on the plant. Ukraine has also accused Russia of firing missiles at Ukrainian cities from around the captured nuclear power plant knowing it would be risky for Ukraine to return fire.

Two Ukrainian employees who work at the plant describe being under enormous pressure since the last five months of Russian occupation. "Soldiers walk everywhere with guns and actually we all work at gunpoint," says one of the workers interviewed by the BBC. "The staff is now hostage to the Russians," confirms a colleague of his to the same medium. There are believed to be 500 Russian soldiers at the plant.

Regarding the fear that Russia will end up diverting the electrical production of the Ukrainian power plant to Crimea, which was revealed a few days ago, the former head of the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine, Hryhoriy Plachkov, calculates that the Russians would take between "two or three" months to redirect power to its own power grid if that were its goal, according to the BBC.

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