Zelenskyy, head of the IAEA discusses nuclear plant concerns

ZAPORISHYA, Ukraine (AP) – The UN atomic energy chief warned during a meeting Monday with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky that the precarious situation at Europe’s largest nuclear plant “is not improving” as fighting in the area keeps the facility at risk. of disaster.

Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power’s six reactors are shut down and are receiving the electricity they need to prevent a reactor meltdown with only one remaining power line. She sometimes had to switch to diesel generators in emergency situations to run the primary cooling systems.

The situation at the plant remains tense because of the heavy military presence around it and recent power outages, something that has happened repeatedly since It was captured by Russian forces last year.

Grossi plans to visit the factory this week for the second time after the Russian invasion 13 months ago. The Vienna-based agency has staff permanently deployed at the factory since Grossi’s last visit in September.

Earlier this month, fighting knocked out power to the station for half a day, forcing staff to activate backup generators.

Grossi has expressed concern about this development.

“Every time we roll the dice,” he told his agency at the time. “And if we allow this to continue over and over again, one day we will run out of luck.”

Grossi and Zelenskyy met in the city of Zaporizhzhia, which is in the territory controlled by Ukraine, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) northeast of the nuclear plant of the same name.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in January it would send teams of experts to all four of Ukraine’s nuclear power plants to reduce the risk of accidents, including the now-closed Chernobyl plant whose fatal nuclear accident in 1986 sent fallout across much of Europe.

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Grossi emphasized that his seventh trip to Ukraine confirmed his commitment and support “for as long as it takes”.

Other officials of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the head of the presidential office, Andrei Yermak, and the head of the nuclear energy company Energoatom, Petro Kotin, also attended the meeting.

While in Zaporizhia, Zelensky also inspected military posts in the partially occupied province and awarded soldiers with military decorations. He visited injured soldiers at a hospital and apartment building that Kiev claims was hit by a missile on Wednesday, killing at least one person and wounding more than 30.

The residents are still traumatized by the experience.

“It’s terrifying. I can’t find the words to tell you,” said Hana Budkova, 39, who was on a crowded playground in front of the apartment building with her almost two-year-old daughter. “I’m afraid to go anywhere near the windows.”

Zelensky later visited the frequently bombed city of Nikopol across the Dnieper River from the nuclear power plant, according to the presidential office.

On the other hand, two people were killed and 29 others were injured today, Monday, when Russian forces bombed the city of Slovensk in the partially occupied eastern region of Donetsk, officials said.

Video footage of the aftermath showed destroyed apartment buildings, rubble in the streets and cars on fire. Zelensky described the attack as “terrorism”.

Russia denied targeting residential areas even though artillery and missile strikes hit residential buildings and Ukrainian civilian infrastructure daily during the war..

The Sloviansk offensive followed a typical long-range bombing pattern adopted by Kremlin forces, especially in recent months as fighting stalemated over the winter.

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In the eastern Donetsk region, Russian forces have bombed about 10 cities and villages in the past 24 hours, Ukraine’s presidential office reported.

It added that Russian missiles hit the city of Avdiivka and damaged residential buildings, a hotel and a court.

Avdiivka Mayor Vitaly Barabash said that utility companies are being evacuated from Front Line City, as it “looks more and more like landscapes from post-apocalyptic movies.”

Attacks also intensified in the Zaporozhye regionas 14 settlements on the front line were bombed, the authorities said.

The partly occupied Kherson region was bombed twenty times in the Ukrainian-controlled part of the province, the presidential office said, injuring four people.

Exiled elected mayor Ivan Fyodorov said several explosions rocked the Russian-occupied city of Melitopol in the Zaporizhia region and damaged a building where Russian security forces live. The Russian authorities said that the “artillery bombardment” of Melitopol partially destroyed a vocational school building and damaged several other buildings, injuring four people.

Earlier, Zelensky met in Kiev with British actor Orlando Bloom, according to Yermak, the head of the presidential office. Bloom, a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, arrived for the weekend and visited the suburb of Irvine.

In his meeting with Zelensky, Blum said “I was struck by the courage and resilience of the Ukrainians, who remained strong despite the war,” wrote Yermak.

The official said Blum “will support projects to provide humanitarian assistance and restore infrastructure, with a focus on ensuring the interests of Ukrainian children.”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Monday at a meeting in the Netherlands that Germany has fulfilled its promise to deliver 18 advanced Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine. Canada, Norway and Poland also sent such tanks to Ukraine.

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This has corrected that the Zaporizhzhia plant is currently not providing energy.

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Follow AP coverage of the war in Ukraine: https://apnews.com/hub/russia-ukraine

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