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Ukraine calls for the evacuation of the nuclear city of Zaporizhzhia

Ukraine on Wednesday called on residents of Russian-occupied areas around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to evacuate for their own safety.

Moscow and Kyiv accuse each other of bombing the nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, risking a nuclear disaster.

“I call on residents of neighborhoods adjacent to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant …. evacuate! Find a way to get to the controlled (Ukrainian) territory,” Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk said in a message on the Telegram messaging service.

The exiled Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, the main town serving the plant, said in a separate Telegram post that it was under fire from Russian forces and had no power supply.

“The intervals between provocations are getting shorter and shorter,” wrote Dmytro Orlov, the mayor.

He said factory workers hadn’t had time to fix the facility “because another bombing undoes their work and they have to start all over again.”

Orlov added that residents should store drinking water and foods that don’t require cooking.

It is now impossible to predict when the electricity supply will be restored.

Russia denies targeting civilians and accuses Kyiv of bombing the nuclear power plant.

The call to evacuate follows a warning from the International Atomic Energy Agency, which said on Tuesday there was an ‘urgent’ need to establish a ‘safety protection zone’ at the power plant held by Russia in order to avoid a nuclear catastrophe.

“The situation in Ukraine is unprecedented,” warned the United Nations nuclear watchdog. “This is the first time that a military conflict has occurred at the facilities of a large, well-established nuclear program,” he said in a report.

A nuclear accident would be a disaster not only for Ukraine, but also for countries “beyond its borders”, he said.

“In this case, we have the historical and ethical imperative to prevent something from happening,” Rafael Grossi, head of the IAEA, later told the UN Security Council.

“We can agree on a very simple, but incredibly necessary protection mechanism to avoid what is happening right now, as we speak, which is the bombing of a nuclear power plant,” he added. .


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