The head of the United Nations Nuclear Watchdog warned an emergency meeting of the Security Council on Thursday, 11 August, of a massive crisis unfolding at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, as Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of fresh rounds of shelling near the facility.
"This is a serious hour, a grave hour," International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi said at the meet, and called on world leaders to allow the IAEA to undertake a mission to Zaporizhzhia, AFP reported.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy also accused Russia of "nuclear blackmail," as he urged the global community to "react immediately to chase out the occupiers from Zaporizhzhia."
"Only the Russians' full withdrawal would guarantee nuclear safety for all of Europe," Zelenskyy said in a video address.
Both countries have accused each other of fresh shelling near the power plant, which is Europe's biggest nuclear facility.
Ukraine's nuclear agency Energoatom also said that Russian shelling near one of the plant's reactors had led to "extensive smoke" and "several radiation sensors are damaged."
The Soviet-era plant in Ukraine was captured by Russian in March, shortly after the war began, and has remained on the frontline ever since.
India Expresses Concerns Over Shelling Near Nuclear Plant
Meanwhile, India also expressed concerns over shelling near the Zaporizhya power plant and called for "mutual restraint" to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities.
At a UNSC meet, Ruchira Kamboj, Ambassador of India to UN, said, "India expresses its concern over the reports of shelling near the spent fuel storage facility of the Zaporizhya Nuclear Power Plant. We call for mutual restraint so as not to endanger the safety and security of nuclear facilities."
She also underscored the importance of the IAEA's safeguards to ensure peace among nuclear-powered countries.
"We also accord high priority to the discharge by the IAEA of its safeguards and monitoring activities, in accordance with its Statute in an effective, non- discriminatory and efficient manner, and we value the efforts of the Agency in this regard," Kamboj said.