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The US is asking Russia to stop military activities at nuclear sites

#Russia #stop #military #activities #nuclear #sites

The White House on Monday asked Russia to halt all military operations involving nuclear facilities in Ukraine.

“Fighting near a nuclear plant is dangerous,” White House spokeswoman Karine Jean-Pierre told reporters aboard Air Force One during a flight to Kentucky, where President Joe Biden will be touring areas damaged by flooding.

“And we continue to call on Russia to cease all military operations in or near Ukrainian nuclear facilities and to return full control to Ukraine,” Jean-Pierre said.

Zaporizhzhia – Europe’s largest nuclear power plant complex – was occupied by Russia early in its invasion, and recent fighting there has raised fears of a nuclear accident.

Jean-Pierre said the United States was continuing to “closely monitor” the situation at the facility and that radiation sensors had “thankfully” shown no evidence of an increase or abnormal levels of radiation.

“We are also aware of the reports of ill-treatment of (plant) personnel and we applaud the Ukrainian authorities and operators for their commitment to nuclear safety and security under difficult circumstances,” she said.

The White House spokeswoman said the United States supports efforts by the United Nations nuclear regulatory body, the International Atomic Energy Agency, to help Ukraine with nuclear safety measures.

Kyiv on Monday called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone around the nuclear power plant in eastern Ukraine.

In recent days, it has been the scene of strikes that damaged several buildings and forced a reactor to shut down.

“What needs to be done is to remove the occupying forces from the station and create a demilitarized zone on the station’s territory,” said Petro Kotin, president of Ukraine’s nuclear energy company Energoatom.

Recent fighting at the facility has prompted the IAEA to warn of “the very real risk of a nuclear catastrophe”.

The Kremlin on Monday accused Ukrainian forces of firing at the Zaporizhia plant and warned of possible “catastrophic consequences” for Europe.

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