Aug 11, 2022 - World

UN chief: Military activity around Ukraine nuclear plant must "cease immediately"

Antonio Guterres speaks during a press conference
António Guterres speaks during a press conference on Aug. 8 in Tokyo. Photo: Franck Robichon-Pool/Getty Images

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday called for the immediate cessation of military activity around Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the withdrawal of military personnel and equipment from the site.

Driving the news: Last week, Russia and Ukraine accused each other of being responsible for recent shelling at the power plant, which is Europe's largest nuclear power station.

What they're saying: "I have appealed to all concerned to exercise common sense and reason and not to undertake any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant," Guterres said in a statement.

  • "Regrettably, instead of de-escalation, over the past several days there have been reports of further deeply worrying incidents that could, if they continue, lead to disaster," he added.
  • "I am calling for all military activities in the immediate vicinity of the plant to cease immediately and not to target its facilities or surroundings."
  • "I urge the withdrawal of any military personnel and equipment from the plant and the avoidance of any further deployment of forces or equipment to the site."

The big picture: Russian forces captured the plant in March and have kept control of it since then. The plant is still being kept operational by its Ukrainian staff.

The bottom line: Guterres warned that any damage to Zaporizhzhia or other nuclear facilities "could lead to catastrophic consequences" for the whole "region and beyond. This is wholly unacceptable."

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