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Drone attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant significantly increases risk of accident.

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The United Nations’ atomic energy watchdog raised concerns on Sunday following drone strikes on a nuclear reactor at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) described the incident as a severe threat to nuclear safety and security, marking the first direct targeting of Europe’s largest nuclear facility by military strikes since November 2022. Despite the gravity of the attack, the IAEA stated that there are currently no signs of critical damage.

The situation has intensified tensions between Russia and Ukraine, with both countries exchanging accusations over the attack. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy urged for increased international support for his country’s air defense systems in the face of ongoing aerial bombardment by Russia, particularly targeting Kharkiv and its surrounding regions.

Meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov traveled to China on Monday for discussions regarding the situation in Ukraine and the broader Asia-Pacific region.

Overnight, Russia launched approximately two dozen drone attacks on southern and eastern Ukraine, with critical infrastructure being the primary target. Among the areas affected was a logistics and transport facility in the Odesa region.

Addressing the economic impact of the ongoing conflict, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina informed lawmakers in the State Duma that worker shortages were constraining production in the country. However, she noted that Russia’s economy was still experiencing growth at a commendable rate.

The IAEA Director General, Grossi, emphasized the seriousness of the situation at the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, warning of the heightened risk of a major nuclear accident due to such reckless attacks. He called for an immediate cessation of such actions to prevent further escalation.

In response to the incident, Russian nuclear power company Rosatom accused Ukraine’s military of being responsible for the attack, though no evidence was provided. Ukraine denied any involvement and alleged that Russia was behind the drone strikes.

President Zelenskyy called on international allies to provide additional support for Ukraine’s air defense systems, particularly focusing on bolstering Kharkiv’s ability to defend against aerial threats. He emphasized the need for political will to transfer air defense systems to Ukraine, expressing gratitude to countries that have already offered assistance.

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