'You're playing with fire' warns UN over shelling at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

AFP - STRINGER

The head of the UN nuclear watchdog has called for an end to fighting around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, after powerful explosions were recorded in the area over the weekend.

Rafael Mariano Grossi, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said that two explosions – one on Saturday and the other Sunday morning – near the Zaporizhzhia plant had abruptly ended a period of relative calm around the Russian-occupied nuclear facility.

Monitors from the IAEA team at the facility reported hearing more than a dozen blasts within a short period Sunday morning. Some of the explosions were visible from their windows.

Several buildings, systems and equipment at the power plant were damaged, the IAEA said in a statement, but nothing so far "critical for nuclear safety and security". There were no reports of casualties.

However, Grossi described the reports of shelling as "extremely disturbing" and made an urgent appeal for a stop to the fighting.

"Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately," he said. "You're playing with fire!"

Fears of a catastrophe at Europe's largest nuclear facility have been at the forefront since Russian troops occupied the plant shortly after invading Ukraine on 24 February.

Trading blame

Russia and Ukraine accuse one another of the shelling.

Despite the shelling, radiation levels "remain normal", the army added.

(with newswires)


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