Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenksyy said Russia had hit a new low and was trying to “threate the whole world” by shelling Europe’s largest nuclear power plant.
Moscow and Kyiv have accused each other of shelling the facility when United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres proposed a demilitarized zone at the Zaporizhzhia plant in the southeastern Ukrainian city of Enerhodar.
Mr Guterres also called on both sides to halt military action around the facility to avoid “catastrophic consequences”.
The United States supports the UN call for a demilitarized zone and urges the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the area.
Energoatom, Ukraine’s state nuclear energy agency, said the Zaporizhzhia complex was attacked five times on Thursday, including near a place containing radioactive materials.
According to Russia’s TASS news agency, officials appointed by Moscow said Ukraine shelled the factory twice, disrupting the restructuring process, according to Russia’s TASS news agency.
Reports from both sides about the situation at the plant have not been independently verified.
Vladimir Putin’s troops seized the city of Enerhodar in early March, and while the Zaporizhzhia plant is controlled by Russia, its Ukrainian personnel continue to run nuclear operations.
In his nightly address on Thursday, Mr Zelenksyy demanded that Russia return the factory to Ukraine’s control and said “the world should react immediately to expel the occupiers” from the territory surrounding the facility. this.
“Russia has once again broken the bottom in the history of world terrorism,” he said.
“No one else has used a nuclear power plant, so it is clear that to threaten the whole world and put in place certain conditions and absolutely everyone in the world should react immediately to expel those occupation from the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
“This is a global interest, not just a Ukrainian need.”
Meanwhile, UN nuclear chief Rafael Grossi warned of “very alarming” military activity at the plant that could lead to dangerous consequences for the region and called for an end to the attacks.
Grossi, the director of the IAEA, said the agency’s experts had assessed that there was no immediate threat to nuclear safety but that the situation could change “at any time”.
He also urged Russia and Ukraine to immediately allow nuclear experts to access the plant to assess the damage and assess the safety level.
Grossi made the remarks as the United Nations Security Council met on Thursday to discuss the situation.
Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the United Nations Security Council that accusing Moscow of shelling the plant was “cynical and absurd”.
He added that the world was being pushed “to the brink of a nuclear disaster, comparable in scale to Chernobyl”.
However, Sergiy Kyslytsya, Ukraine’s ambassador to the UN, begged the Russians to change course and leave the factory.
“None of us can stop the wind if it carries radiation. But together we have the power to prevent a state of terror,” he said.
Individual, Satellite images released on Thursday shows destruction at an airbase in Crimea, annexed by Russia.
The images show Ukraine may have a new long-range strike capability with the potential to change the course of the war, Western military experts say.
Images from independent satellite company Planet Labs show three near-identical craters where buildings at Russia’s Saki airbase were hit with apparent precision.
The base, on the southwestern coast of Crimea, suffered heavy fire damage with at least eight destroyed warplanes clearly visible.
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Russia denied the plane was damaged and said Tuesday’s explosions at the base were accidental.
Ukraine has not publicly claimed responsibility for the attack.
It comes as Mr Zelenskyy has asked Ukrainian officials to stop talking to reporters about Kyiv’s military tactics against Russia, saying such remarks are “frankly irresponsible”.