Strikes at Ukraine nuclear plant prompt U.N. call for demilitarised zone - Reuters

Strikes at Ukraine nuclear plant prompt U.N. call for demilitarised zone - Reuters

Strikes at Ukraine nuclear plant prompt U.N. call for demilitarised zone - Reuters
Aug 12, 2022 1 min, 42 secs

KYIV/NEW YORK, Aug 12 (Reuters) - Russia and Ukraine accused each other of shelling Europe's biggest nuclear power plant, compounding fears of a disaster as the U.N.

chief said it should be made a demilitarised zone and Ukraine demanded that Russian forces withdraw from it.

Ukraine's Energoatom agency said the Zaporizhzhia complex in south-central Ukraine was struck five times on Thursday, including near where radioactive materials are stored.

Russian-appointed officials said Ukraine shelled the plant twice, disrupting a shift changeover, Russia's TASS news agency said.

The plant, near the front line in the fighting, is held by Russian troops and operated by Ukrainian workers.

"The presence and actions of the Russian armed forces near the plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences," the French foreign ministry said in a statement.

Ukraine has also accused Russia of firing rockets at Ukrainian towns from around the captured nuclear power plant in the knowledge it would be too risky for Ukrainian forces to return fire.

A view shows the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in the course of Ukraine-Russia conflict outside the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhia region, Ukraine August 4, 2022.

It suggested Ukraine may have new long-range strike capability with potential to change the course of the war, Western military experts said.

The New York Times and Washington Post newspapers cited unidentified officials as saying Ukrainian forces were responsible for the Crimea attack.

The Institute for the Study of War said Ukrainian officials were framing the Crimea strike as the start of Ukraine's counter-offensive in the south, suggesting intense fighting in coming weeks.

State Department said that Russian officials trained in Iran in recent weeks as part of an agreement on the transfer of drones between the two countries.

The European Space Agency (ESA) has begun preliminary technical discussions with Elon Musk's SpaceX that could lead to the temporary use of its launchers after the Ukraine conflict blocked Western access to Russia's Soyuz rockets.

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