World: Guterres calls on Russian and Ukrainian forces to withdraw from Zaporiyia nuclear power plant

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United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Thursday called on Russian and Ukrainian forces to withdraw as soon as possible from the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant and to avoid deploying troops or military equipment in the vicinity to ensure security and prevent possible nuclear catastrophes in the context of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

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"The facility should not be used as part of military operations, so I call on the parties to reach an urgent agreement at the technical level to secure the perimeter and establish demilitarization of the area," he said in a statement.

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He also pointed out that the United Nations continues to offer its "full support" to the work of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to ensure the safety of the operations carried out at the plant, and therefore urged the parties to provide "immediate and secure" access to the Agency's mission.

"We have to be clear in saying that any damage to the plant and other nuclear facilities in Ukraine can lead to catastrophic consequences not only for the surrounding areas but for the region and the whole world," he said before stating that it is "unacceptable."

In this sense, he expressed his concern about the situation around Zaporiyia and urged to "use common sense and reason before taking measures that could endanger the physical integrity or safety of the nuclear power plant", the largest in Europe. However, he warned that during the last few days there has been an increase in tension in the area, "which, if it continues, could lead to disaster".

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ZELENSKI CALLS FOR UNITY TO STOP RUSSIA Earlier Thursday, Ukrainian President Volodimir Zelenski warned that "no one will be able to stop the radiation" in the event of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporiyia power plant as part of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, but stressed that the allies "together" can stop Russia.

"We are convinced that the trajectory of Russian cruise missiles does not accidentally pass over Ukrainian nuclear power plants. These are all manifestations of Russia's nuclear terrorism," he asserted during his speech at the donor conference on Ukraine in Denmark.

He described Russia as a "terrorist state that is holding nuclear power plants hostage" and is "blackmailing the whole world with possible disasters", as stated in a press release. "Russia could provoke the biggest nuclear accident in history with the Zaporiyia plant, "We have all already thought about what we would do if Russia uses so-called tactical nuclear weapons. Let's think more about it. Russia could provoke more catastrophic consequences than Chernobyl," he lamented before stressing that "no one can stop the wind contaminated by radiation." "The sooner we stop Russia, the sooner we protect Europe and the world," he said.

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Zelenski took the opportunity to thank for the holding of the donors' conference and recalled the Chernobyl disaster, which has meant that now "there is an exclusion zone in which it is forbidden to live". "Thousands of residents of various countries were affected from one day to the next", he pointed out.

"Then, the Soviet authorities tried to hide the disaster and its consequences. Now, the Russian authorities are being even more cynical; they are doing everything possible to maximize the risk of a nuclear disaster and lie to everyone that it is others who are to blame," he lamented.

He further stressed that "during the years that Ukraine has operated this power plant, there has not been a single incident that endangered the safety of Ukrainians and Europeans." "Now Russia is using it for provocations (...) knowing the implications," he added.

The risks to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant, explained .
Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant is also its most vulnerable.Zaporizhzhia is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, and it provides electricity to Ukraine and to several European countries. Its location on the Dnipro River makes it a critical target for Russian forces, which have controlled the plant since March. Despite Russian forces allegedly turning the plant into a military installation, Ukrainian operators still manage the safety and daily operations of the plant, under significant duress.

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