MOSCOW, November 21. /TASS/. The situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant was on the brink of a breaking point due to shelling attacks by Ukraine troops and could have led to a man-induced catastrophe, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Monday.
"Attacks, in particular, were reported on November 19, when numerous artillery strikes were delivered on the territory of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant from the NATO-caliber 155mm weapons. Attacks continued on the following day, November 20, when strikes hit radioactive waste storage facilities," she said.
"Luckily, no serious damage was done to the ZNPP and no radioactive release followed," she noted. "But the situation was teetering on a critical threshold and could have resulted in a man-induced catastrophe."
After a short lull, "The Kiev regime continues to play with fire, carrying out crude and reckless provocations against the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant," Zakharova said.
She recalled that Russia has been "in close contact with the IAEA secretary since the very beginning of Ukraine’s attacks." "After the latest series, we referred all our data to them, including photos and videos confirming the consequences of the shelling attacks, as we did before. We asked to inform the agency’s member states immediately," Zakharova said. "The international community should know those who are behind the attacks. It is especially important amid the reckless statements of Kiev’s propaganda alleging that the Russian side is shelling itself again."
According to the Russian diplomat, it is especially ridiculous of Kiev to stage an attack on the ZNPP almost immediately after a regular session of the IAEA Board of Governors where the situation at Ukrainian nuclear facilities was the focus. She pointed out that Finland and Canada had timed the draft of another anti-Russian resolution with the recent session of the IAEA Board of Governors.
"By doing so the Western sponsors once again showed their duplicity and gave carte blanche to the [Ukrainian President] Vladimir Zelensky regime to continue their insane attempts to cause irreparable damage to the ZNPP. In fact, they are accomplices to the crimes being committed by Kiev, for which there is no excuse," she stressed.
"Inspired by limitless support from their Western sponsors, Ukraine’s authorities seem to have nothing to restrain them, even in the presence of IAEA representatives, whose lives they are ready to put at risk," she added.
She called on the IAEA secretariat to clearly and unequivocally name those who are shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant because otherwise there will be no stopping Kiev.
"We are convinced that in such an unprecedented situation, the agency’s secretariat must take a responsible position. As an authoritative and independent international agency, it should ultimately drop abstract condemnations and calls for the cessation of attacks on the ZNPP without pointing, clearly and unequivocally, at those who are behind the attacks," she stressed. "It is high time to call things by their proper names, otherwise there will be no stopping Ukrainian nationalists. And it takes resolve and responsibility. We hope they will be demonstrated".