The Argentine Rafael Grossi, the general director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), warned this Thursday, March 9, about the Russian bombings on the Ukrainian Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plantsaying that “one day our luck will run out” if the situation continues.
“Every time we play with fire and if we allow this situation to continue, one day our luck will change”he warned on Thursday before the council of governors of this UN body in Vienna.
Vladimir Putin’s forces launched 81 missiles hit Ukraine while people were sleeping on Thursday morning, hitting 10 of the country’s 27 regions. The attack left at least nine people dead and caused power outages, including the temporary interruption of supply to the Zaporizhia power station.
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Within hours of the attacks, the Ukrainian electricity operator Ukrenergo announced the reconnection with the national network of that plant occupied by Russian forces for a year and ruled out the risk of a nuclear incident.
Russia indicated that the bombings, in which used its new Kinjal hypersonic missileswere in “retaliation” for a March 2 incursion into its territory by Ukrainian “spoilers” and cast doubt on the extension of a vital UN-brokered grain deal, saying it would discuss its renewal with the UN on Monday.
Missiles rained down across the country, causing the first civilian deaths in the western Lviv regionconsidered relatively safe and far from the front lines, long as fighting raged in the eastern city of Bakhmut.
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Russia regularly bombs Ukrainian energy facilities, plunging millions of people into darkness and cold, but such attacks have become less frequent in recent weeks.
Ukrainian President, Volodimir Zelenski, denounced the “miserable tactics” of Russia after the bombingwhich affected ten regions of the country and kyiv, the capital, targeting energy infrastructure.
“We must commit to protecting the safety and security of the plant,” Grossi said. “And we have to commit now. What we need is action. “Let me remind you: this is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, we are playing with fire,” he said.
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Grossi noted that this was the sixth time the Zaporizhzhia facility had been cut from the power grid since Russia seized it a year ago, and the first time since November.
“This cannot continue,” he said, adding: “I am amazed at the complacency. What are we doing to prevent this from happening?”he asked, vowing to continue his efforts.
Grossi has been in consultations with kyiv and Moscow for several months to try to establish a buffer zone around the plant, but the talks appear to have stalled.
The head of diplomacy of the European Union (EU), Josep Borrell, stated that the Russian bombardments that forced the disconnection of the Ukrainian power station in Zaporizhia for several hours constitute a “serious violation” of nuclear security.
“It is a serious violation of nuclear security, committed by Russia,” Borrell told reporters on the sidelines of an EU ministerial meeting in Stockholm. The power outage forced the plant to be cooled with diesel generators, which “increased the risk of a nuclear accident” until reconnection with the power grid, he added.
“Zaporizhzhia is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe… and Russia is endangering the entirety of our common European continent, including Russia”Borell added.
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