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Iran Press TV

Russia: World must make Ukraine reduce military tension at Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Iran Press TV

Monday, 29 August 2022 3:08 PM

Moscow has called for global pressure on Ukraine to reduce military tension at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which is under Russian control, as the war between Russia and Ukraine enters its seventh month.

Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world. Russian forces seized the plant soon after Moscow launched its operation in the ex-Soviet country on February 24. Ukraine accuses Russia of storing heavy weapons in the plant. Moscow denies the allegation.

The plant has come under fire repeatedly in recent weeks. Both Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of targeting the facility, which on Thursday sparked fires in the ash pits of a nearby coal power station that disconnected the plant from the power grid.

"Pressure on the Ukrainian side to stop shelling can reduce military tension," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said in a virtual press conference when asked what the Kremlin would like to see done to defuse the current tension at Zaporizhzhia. He added, "All countries are obliged to put pressure on Ukraine so that it stops exposing the European continent to danger."

His comments were made a few hours after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced it would inspect the nuclear power plant later this week and that a team by the UN nuclear watchdog was on its way to the facility.

Peskov said Russia welcomed the upcoming mission by the IAEA and was ready to cooperate. However, he said Moscow was not talking about the possibility of creating a demilitarized zone at Zaporizhzhia. The United States has already called for creating such a zone.

On Saturday, Russia's Defense Ministry lambasted Ukrainian forces for shelling Zaporizhzhia three times in the previous 24 hours despite a risk of leaking at the station.

"A total of 17 shells were fired, four of which hit the roof of Special Building No. 1, where 168 assemblies of US WestingHouse nuclear fuel are stored," it said in a statement at the time, adding that 10 shells exploded in the vicinity of a dry storage facility for spent nuclear fuel and three more shells near a building, which houses fresh nuclear fuel storage.

Despite the attacks, the Ukrainian staff continues to operate Zaporizhzhia, which has been a matter of international concern that fighting in the area could trigger a Chernobyl-style nuclear disaster after the site was hit by shelling.

Russia has also taken control of the Chernobyl plant, about 100 kilometers north of Kiev, which has been one of the most radioactive locations on earth since it saw an explosion in its fourth reactor in April 1986.

Russia says shot down Ukrainian drone near Zaporizhzhia

Separately on Monday, Russia's Defense Ministry said forces had managed to shoot down a Ukrainian combat drone which was trying to attack the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

It said the drone was shot down by Russian troops stationed on the roof of one of the buildings of the nuclear plant on Sunday. There was no serious damage and that the radiation levels were normal, it said.

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