U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of Europe’s largest atomic plant at the weekend.
“Any attack (on) a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing,” Guterres told a news conference in Japan, where he attended the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Ceremony on Saturday to commemorate the 77th anniversary of the world’s first atomic bombing.
Russian forces captured the Zaporizhzhia nuclear reactor complex in southeastern Ukraine in early March, shortly after Moscow’s invasion of its neighbour, but it is still run by Ukrainian technicians.
Ukraine accused Russia of responsibility for renewed shelling on Saturday that had damaged three radiation sensors and injured a worker at the plant in what was the second hit in consecutive days on the site.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, in a televised address on Sunday, said Russia was waging “nuclear terror” that warranted more international sanctions, this time on Moscow’s nuclear sector.
The region’s Russian-installed authority said Ukrainian forces hit the site with a multiple rocket launcher, damaging administrative buildings and an area near a storage facility.
The Russian Embassy in Washington also itemised the damage, saying artillery fire from “Ukrainian nationalists” damaged two high-voltage power lines and a water pipeline, but critical infrastructure was not affected.