MOSCOW - The Kremlin on Monday accused Ukrainian forces of firing on the Zaporizhzhia atomic power plant, warning of potential “catastrophic consequences” for Europe.

“The shelling of the territory of the nuclear plant by the Ukrainian armed forces is a potentially extremely dangerous activity... fraught with catastrophic consequences for a vast area, including the territory of Europe,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. He called on Ukraine’s allies “to use their influence to prevent the continuation of such shelling”.

Russia’s defence ministry said on Monday that the Ukrainian army damaged a high-voltage power line that provides electricity to nearby regions.

The ministry added that a “power surge” took place at the station, causing smoke in a switchgear, used to protect electrical equipment.

Firefighters at the scene were able to stop the smoke, the ministry said.

Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for strikes on the atomic power plant, where recent fighting sparked a UN warning of a potential nuclear disaster.

Zaporizhzhia -- Europe’s largest atomic power complex that was occupied by Russia early in its offensive -- has in recent days been the scene of military strikes that have damaged several structures, forcing the shutdown of a reactor.

UN chief condemns ‘suicidal’ shelling around Ukrainian nuclear plant

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres described recent artillery and rocket fire around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in central Ukraine as “suicidal,” further adding to fears of an accident at the plant, which is the largest of its kind in Europe. “Any attack on nuclear power plants is a suicidal thing,” Guterres told reporters Monday in Tokyo.

| Says shelling of territory of nuclear plant by Ukrainian armed forces is a potentially extremely dangerous activity