‘Targeted’ strikes on Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are ‘worrying’: UN nuclear chief

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'Targeted' strikes on Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are 'worrying': UN nuclear chief
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Kyiv:

The UN’s atomic watchdog on Sunday denounced “targeted” strikes against Ukraine’s Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, calling for “an end to this madness”, as Kyiv and Moscow swapped responsibility .

Ukraine meanwhile rejected Russian accusations that it had executed soldiers who surrendered.

“The news from our team yesterday and this morning is extremely worrying,” Rafael Grossi, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in a statement on Sunday.

“Explosions have occurred at the site of this large nuclear power plant, which is totally unacceptable.

“Whoever is behind this, it must stop immediately,” he added.

“As I’ve said many times before, you’re playing with fire!”

There were more than a dozen explosions overnight from Saturday to Sunday, some of which were seen by a team of agency experts on site, the IAEA said in a statement.

Speaking to French broadcaster BFMTV later on Sunday, Grossi made it clear that the strikes at the factory were no accident.

“People doing this know where they’re hitting. It’s absolutely deliberate, targeted.”

The IAEA must send a team of experts to the plant, the largest nuclear installation in Europe, currently controlled by Russian troops.

– ‘Discount in stages’ –

Ukraine meanwhile has dismissed Russian accusations that its soldiers killed Russian troops as they surrendered, in what Moscow called a “war crime”.

Excerpts from the video footage in question showed that in fact Russian forces had used a “staged surrender” to open fire on Ukrainian soldiers, Dmytro Lubinets, the parliament’s commissioner for human rights, said on Sunday. man.

“In this case, people among the Russian military cannot be considered prisoners of war, but are those who fight and commit treason,” he added.

“Felling back is not a war crime. On the contrary, those who want to use the protection of international law to kill must be punished.”

Video footage released on Russian social media last week claimed to show the bodies of Russian servicemen killed after surrendering to Ukrainian troops.

AFP has not independently confirmed the videos.

A UN spokesman told AFP on Friday that he was “aware of the videos” and was “reviewing them”.

– Russian bombings –

Meanwhile, in the southern city of Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recently recaptured, residents faced a new challenge after eight months of occupation by troops from Moscow: Russian artillery attacks.

After Russian shells pounded the industrial area next to their house, setting an oil depot on fire, Yuri Mosolov and his wife decided it was time to leave.

“After yesterday’s shelling, my wife said: let’s not take too many risks and let’s go,” Mosolov told AFP.

A carefully planned campaign by Kyiv targeting logistics networks, bridges and pontoon crossings broke Russian supply lines and forced their troops to abandon the city and retreat to the east bank of the Dnipro.

Now the armies are increasingly engaging in heavy artillery exchanges across the river.

“The artillery duels continue. The fighting continues,” said Dmytro Pletenchuk, spokesman for the Ukrainian army in the region. “Kherson is now on the front line.”

Elsewhere near Kherson, Russian strikes hit near a humanitarian distribution area in the village of Bilozerka, sending residents fleeing on Saturday.

– Terms for peace –

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, in his daily address, said there were nearly 400 Russian attacks in the east of the country alone on Sunday.

The toughest battles, he said, were in the eastern region of Donetsk – one of those the Russians now claim as their own. Fighting also continued in the nearby town of Lugansk.

Crews were working around the clock to repair damage to energy infrastructure caused by Russian artillery bombardment, but “stabilization blackouts” were still needed in 15 regions, including Kyiv, he added.

And he once again spelled out Kyiv’s peace terms, which include food and energy security, the release of all prisoners and deportees, and the withdrawal of Russian troops from all Ukrainian territory.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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