Aug 8, 2022 - World

UN chief condemns shelling of Ukraine nuclear plant as "suicidal"

UN Secretary General António Guterres

UN Secretary-General António Guterres at the National Press Club in Tokyo on Aug. 8. Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP via Getty Images

Recent shelling at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, Europe's largest nuclear power station, is "suicidal," UN Secretary-General António Guterres warned on Monday.

Driving the news: Last week Russia and Ukraine accused each other of being responsible for the shelling that damaged a power line and forced one of the plant's three reactors to be disconnected.

  • Energoatom, Ukraine’s nuclear power operator, accused Russia of carrying out the attack and announced that one employee had been injured as a result.
  • Over the weekend, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky called for a stronger international response to "Russian nuclear terror" while European Council President Charles Michel condemned Russian military activity around the plant, calling it a "serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules."
  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the shelling "underlines the very real risk of a nuclear disaster."

What they're saying: "I believe this is the moment when the risk of nuclear confrontation is back — something that we have forgotten for decades," Guterres said at a press conference in Tokyo on Monday.

  • "Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing and I hope that those attacks will end," he added of the shelling at Zaporizhzhia.
  • Guterres also voiced support for the IAEA's efforts to stabilize conditions around the plant and called for the IAEA to be granted access to the plant.

Flashback: Russian forces captured the plant back in March and have kept control of it since then, though the plant is still being kept operational by its Ukrainian staff.

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