FILEPHOTO. United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres addresses members of the press at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. February 1, 2022. Portal/Andrew Kelly
MOSCOW, Aug 18 (Portal) – Russia on Thursday warned of the risk of a man-made nuclear disaster at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and on Thursday accused Ukraine of planning a “provocation” there during the visit of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.
The plant near the front lines has come under repeated attacks in recent weeks, with Ukraine and Russia blaming each other for the bombing.
The Russian Defense Ministry accused Ukraine of trying to stage a “small accident” at the plant in southern Ukraine in order to blame Russia.
Portal could not verify Russia’s claim.
The Zaporizhia nuclear reactor complex, Europe’s largest, was seized by Russian forces shortly after tens of thousands of troops invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what Russia is calling a “military special operation”.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters Moscow is taking steps to ensure the complex’s security and denied using heavy weapons in and around the plant.
The ministry said the plant could be closed if Ukrainian forces continue shelling it.
In a briefing, Igor Kirillov, head of the Russian Armed Forces for Radioactive, Chemical and Biological Defense, said the plant’s support systems were damaged by the shelling.
Kirillov presented a slide showing that in the event of an accident at the facility, radioactive material would cover Germany, Poland and Slovakia.
Guterres, who is scheduled to meet Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy later on Thursday, has called for an end to all fighting near the plant.
Yevgeny Balitsky, head of the Russian-installed agency in the Zaporizhia region, said earlier there was a risk the shelling could damage the reactor complex’s cooling system.
Russia says Ukrainian forces are ruthlessly firing at the plant.
Ukraine says that Russia is intentionally using the power plant as a base for attacks against its forces and that Russian forces attacked it themselves, blaming Ukraine for any subsequent blackouts.
(Information from Portal; Edited in Spanish by Benjamín Mejías Valencia and José Muñoz in the Gdańsk Newsroom)