Zelenskiy calls for tougher international response after shelling of nuclear plant

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KYIV, Aug 7 (Reuters) – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy called on Sunday for a stronger international response to what he described as Russian “nuclear terror” after shelling at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe.

During a phone call with European Council President Charles Michel, Zelenskiy called for sanctions to be imposed on the Russian nuclear industry and nuclear fuel, the Ukrainian leader wrote on Twitter.

Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom said on Sunday that a worker was wounded when Russian forces again shelled the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the biggest in Europe, on Saturday evening.

The site of the plant’s dry storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel are stored in the open air, was hit by rocket attacks, Energoatom said on the Telegram messaging app.

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had raised grave concerns on Saturday about shelling the previous day at Zaporizhzhia, saying the action showed the risk of a nuclear disaster.

The Zaporizhzhia plant was captured by Russian forces in the opening stage of the war but is still run by Ukrainian technicians.

Shells hit a high-voltage power line on Friday at the nuclear facility, prompting its operators to disconnect a reactor despite no radioactive leak being detected.

Both sides accused each other on Saturday of engaging in “nuclear terrorism”. Ukraine’s state nuclear power company Energoatom blamed Russia for the damage while Russia’s defence ministry accused Ukrainian forces of shelling the plant.

In Other Developments:

FIGHTING/WEAPONS

* The Ukrainian military said in an update on Facebook on Saturday that Russian shelling was recorded in dozens of towns along the eastern and southern front lines.

* The Ukrainian military said Russian forces tried to conduct assaults in six different areas in eastern Donetsk region, all of which failed to gain any territory and were held back by Ukrainian forces.

*UK defence secretary Ben Wallace today welcomed a decision by Sweden to join countries contributing to the UK-led programme to train Ukrainian personnel in the UK.

HUMAN RIGHTS

* The head of Amnesty International’s Ukraine office has quit the human rights body in a disagreement with it after the group accused Ukraine’s armed forces of endangering civilians by basing troops in residential areas during the Russian invasion.

(Compiled by Robert Birsel and Frances Kerry)

Photo – A handout still image taken from a handout video made available by the Russian Defence Ministry press service shows a Russian serviceman firing a mortar during fights in the Kharkiv region, Ukraine. EPA-EFE/RUSSIAN DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS SERVICE

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