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Ukrainians deliberately targeting Zaporozhye plant to unleash radiation crisis — official

Vladimir Rogov emphasized that in case of an accident, a radioactive cloud could reach both Berlin and Istanbul

MOSCOW, August 30. /TASS/. The Ukrainian Armed Forces are deliberately striking key facilities at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (NPP) in order to cause the release of radioactive materials, Vladimir Rogov, a member of the main council of the military-civilian administration of the Zaporozhye Region told Rossiya-24 television on Tuesday.

"They [Ukrainian forces] have been targeting key facilities at the Zaporozhye NPP with a clear goal of causing nothing less than a release of contaminated materials,” he said, rejecting reports of chaotic shelling.

According to Rogov, in a worst-case scenario, the Ukrainian shells could hit the nuclear plant’s facilities causing a secondary reaction that would have more severe consequences on all life in the radiation-affected zone of Zaporozhye.  He also noted that in case of an accident, a radioactive cloud could reach both Berlin and Istanbul.

The Zaporozhye NPP, located in the city of Energodar, is controlled by Russian troops. According to the Russian Defense Ministry, Ukrainian forces have carried out several strikes against the plant in recent days, using, in particular, drones, heavy artillery and multiple rocket launchers. In most cases, the attacks are repelled by air defense systems, but some shells hit the infrastructure and the area of the nuclear waste repository, thereby posing a threat of radiation leakage.

An International Atomic Energy Agency mission is expected to visit the nuclear plant in the next few days. IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the inspection team would visit the Zaporozhye plant later this week. The inspectors would assess the physical damage to the plant and check the facility’s security and safety systems. The experts led by Grossi will also have to evaluate the working conditions of the plant’s personnel and take urgent measures to ensure safety there. A UN official told TASS that the IAEA mission would head to the Zaporozhye NPP via Kiev and on Ukrainian-controlled territory.