Kyiv, August 8
Staff at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex are "working under the barrels of Russian guns", Ukraine's ambassador to the UN nuclear watchdog said on Monday, calling for an international mission to the plant this month.
Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk said Russian forces wanted to cause electricity blackouts in southern Ukraine by shelling the Zaporizhzhia complex, adding that damage to the facility from Russian attacks meant any radiation could not be detected.
Tsymbaliuk spoke in Vienna as international alarm over weekend artillery attacks on the Zaporizhzhia complex grew with Kyiv warning of the risk of a Chornobyl-style catastrophe and appealing for the area to be made a demilitarised zone.
The region's Russian-installed authority has said Ukrainian forces hit the site with a multiple rocket launcher, damaging administrative buildings and a storage area. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Kyiv of trying to “take Europe hostage” by shelling the plant.
“If something happens, so there will be huge consequences not only for Ukraine, probably all Ukraine will be contaminated, but for Europe as well,” Tsymbaliuk said.
Russian attacks on the facility had hit spent nuclear fuel, and damaged three radiation monitoring sensors around the site, Tsymbaliuk claimed, adding: “The situation is looking like Ukrainian staff are working under the barrels of Russian guns.” — Reuters
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