IAEA to inspect strike damage at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

© Reuters/Alexander Ermochenko

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog (IAEA) denounced "targeted" strikes at Ukraine's Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant at the weekend. He says a team will be sent to inspect the site on Monday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said more than a dozen blasts shook the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant overnight on Saturday.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the attacks were "extremely disturbing and completely unacceptable".

It was not clear which side was responsible for the explosions, some of which a team of experts from the agency on site had themselves seen, the IAEA said in a statement.

Speaking to French broadcaster BFMTV later Sunday, Grossi was clear that the strikes on the plant were no accident.

"The people who are doing this know where they are hitting. It is absolutely deliberate, targeted."

Citing information provided by plant management, an IAEA team on the ground said there had been damage to some buildings, systems and equipment, but none of them critical for nuclear safety and security.

"We were fortunate a potentially serious nuclear incident did not happen. Next time, we may not be so lucky," Grossi said, describing the situation as a "close call".

Inspection team

The IAEA is to send a team of experts to the plant, Europe's biggest nuclear facility, and which is currently controlled by Russian troops.

US claims Russia ignores radiation risk at Ukraine nuclear power plant

(with newswires)

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