The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) denounced Sunday evening November 20 the shootings “deliberate and targeted” against the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, calling for “stop this madness”.
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Russia and Ukraine again accused each other on Sunday of having bombed this nuclear power plant located in southern Ukraine and militarily occupied by the Russian army. kyiv also denied having executed several Russian soldiers who had gone there.
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“Explosions have taken place at the site of this major nuclear power plant, which is completely unacceptable”said Rafael Grossi, in an interview with BFMTV. “Whoever it is, this must stop immediately”urged the head of the IAEA, insisting: “People who do this know where they are hitting. It’s absolutely deliberate, targeted. »
“A good dozen” strikes
For several months, Moscow and kyiv have accused each other of bombardments on the site, close to the front line. “A Good Dozen” strikes targeted the plant this weekend, from Saturday to Sunday, some of which were noted by IAEA experts, the agency said in a statement.
His manager judged the situation “severe”without attributing responsibility to Russian or Ukrainian forces. “The plant is on the front line, there are military activities that are very difficult to identify, there are Russian personnel and Ukrainian personnel in operation”recalled Rafael Grossi.
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For the Russian Defense Ministry, “the regime in kyiv does not cease provocations in order to create the threat of a catastrophe at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia”. On Saturday and Sunday, Ukrainian forces fired more than 20“large caliber shells” on the plant, says the press release from the ministry. These notably exploded between energy blocks number 4 and 5 and targeted the roof of a “special building” located near these blocks, according to the same source.
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This “special building” houses a nuclear fuel depot, said an official of the Russian nuclear electricity producer Rosenergoatom, Renat Kartchaa, quoted by the official Russian agency Tass. Despite these bombardments, “the level of radiation in the area of the plant remains within the norm”underlines the press release of the Russian Ministry of Defense.
For its part, the Ukrainian nuclear agency accused Russia of having bombed the site of the plant. “This morning of November 20, 2022, following numerous Russian bombardments, at least 12 strikes were recorded on the site of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant”Energoatom said, accusing the Russians of“Once again organize nuclear blackmail and put the whole world in danger”.
“There are those who consider a nuclear power plant a legitimate military target, which is incredible”, was still indignant the director general of the IAEA. The agency, which has two inspectors on site at the plant, is in the process of carrying out an assessment. “There was damage in quite delicate places”estimated Rafael Grossi, specifying that the reactors had not been affected but “rather the area where the fresh and spent fuels are found”.
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“We expect to be able to make an inventory tomorrow [lundi] very early morning”he added, adding that the inspectors could not go out on Sunday because the situation was too dangerous.
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French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the head of the IAEA on Sunday about the situation at the Zaporizhia power plant and “probably will speak” to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, according to the French presidency.
Kherson under Russian shells
In his daily address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said nearly 400 Russian attacks took place in the east of the country on Sunday alone. In the south of the country, in Kherson, which Ukrainian troops recently reconquered, the inhabitants were confronted with Russian bombardments, after eight months of occupation.
Meanwhile, Ukraine on Sunday dismissed Russian accusations that it killed “brutally” Russian soldiers who had laid down their arms, which Moscow described as ” war crime “.
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The Ukrainian army said it had verified the authenticity of the videos, which according to Moscow prove that kyiv executed a dozen Russians. However, extracts from the videos show that the Russian forces pretended to surrender to open fire on the Ukrainian soldiers, in a “false surrender”argued Sunday Dmytro Lubinets, Commissioner for Human Rights in the Ukrainian Parliament.
He felt that in this case the Russians “cannot be considered as prisoners of war” and “retaliating is not a war crime”. AFP could not independently confirm these videos. A UN spokesperson, however, told AFP on Friday that the international organization had “knowledge of these videos” and that she “examined”.