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Zelensky warns of ‘very risky and dangerous’ situation near nuclear plant

Ukrainian Presidential Press Office via AP, File
In this photo provided by the Ukrainian Presidential Press Office on July 8, 2022, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy, attends a meeting with military officials during his visit the war-hit Dnipropetrovsk region.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said that a nuclear plant that produces power for the country is “constantly being provoked by Russian forces,” sparking fears of possible damage to the facility causing a radiation leak.

During a video address to the country late Friday evening, Zelensky said that Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant had been put in a “very risky and dangerous” situation, with nuclear scientists and specialists in the energy industry working to protect it from “the worst-case scenario.”

“I want to emphasize that the situation remains very risky and dangerous,” he said in a translated speech. “Any repeat of yesterday’s events, that is, any disconnection of the plant from the grid, any actions by Russia that could trigger the shutdown of the reactors, will again put the plant one step away from disaster.”

He said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) should come to the plant as soon as possible, urging Russian troops to withdraw from the plant and neighboring areas to eliminate the threat entirely.

Zelensky also thanked “all those who are mobilizing the world’s response to Russian radiation blackmail.”

Russian rocket and artillery strikes hit areas near the plant, Ukrainian officials said Sunday. In the city of Zaporizhzhia, two people were wounded after heavy fire throughout the night. Heavy firing also left parts of Nikopol without electricity, and rocket strikes damaged about a dozen residences in Marhanets.

Russian forces occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant early in the invasion of Ukraine. Ukrainian workers still run the facility, which is the largest in Europe, and both sides have repeatedly accused each other of shelling the site.

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