LVIV - UN chief Antonio Guterres says damage to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine would be “suicide”.

Speaking to reporters after talks in Lviv, Guterres says he was “gravely concerned” about the situation at the plant and said it had to be demilitarised.

He says: “We must tell it like it is -- any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

Guterres adds the facility must not be used as part of “any military operation” and that “agreement is urgently needed to re-establish Zaporizhzhia’s purely civilian infrastructure and to ensure the safety of the area”.

Erdogan warns of dangers of

‘another

Chernobyl’

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said the world doesn’t want “another Chernobyl”, warning of the possibility of a nuclear accident at Zaporizhzhia if conflict there continues. He’s been speaking at a press conference in Lviv, following talks with his Ukrainian counterpart Volodymyr Zelensky and UN chief Antonio Guterres.

Erdogan says the trio also discussed ways to end the war between Russia and Ukraine.

He says they discussed the exchange of prisoners of war between Ukraine and Russia, and that he would later raise the issue with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Turkey has recently acted as a mediator between the two countries, including on the issue of unblocking grain exports from Ukraine’s ports.

Zelensky says UN must ensure

security at

power plant

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky says the United Nations must ensure the security of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant occupied by Russian forces. His comments follow talks with UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who is currently visiting the city of Lviv in western Ukraine. Zelensky has also held talks with Turkey’s leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.  Zelensky wrote on Telegram: “Particular attention was paid to the topic of Russia’s nuclear blackmail at the Zaporizhzhia NPP.”

“This deliberate terror on the part of the aggressor can have global catastrophic consequences for the whole world,” he says. Zelensky adds: “Therefore, the UN must ensure the security of this strategic object, its demilitarisation and complete liberation from Russian troops.”

Guterres says facility must not be used as part of ‘any military operation’

Russia says ‘no heavy weapons’ deployed at nuclear plant

Russia’s defence ministry said Thursday that its forces did not have heavy weapons deployed at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, accusing Kyiv of preparing a “provocation” at the station.

“Russian troops have no heavy weapons either on the territory of the station or in areas around it. There are only guard units,” the ministry said in a statement. Pointing to accusations that Russian forces have been shelling Ukrainian positions from the territory of the station, the ministry said Kyiv was planning a “provocation” during a visit to Ukraine by UN chief Antonio Guterres that would see Moscow “accused of creating a man-made disaster at the plant”.

It said Ukraine was deploying forces in the area and planned to launch artillery strikes on the plant from the city of Nikopol on Friday, when Guterres is due to visit Odessa.

“The blame for the consequences (of the strikes) will be placed on the Russian armed forces,” it said.

Russian forces took control of the Zaporizhzhia plant in southern Ukraine in March, shortly after moving into the country.

The plant is the largest of its kind in Europe and uncertainty surrounding it has fuelled fears of a nuclear accident to rival the Chernobyl disaster in 1986.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday that it was “urgent” to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency to inspect the plant and for Russian forces to withdraw.

He said Moscow’s control of the plant “raises the risks of a nuclear accident or incident”.

Stoltenberg also accused Russia of using “the ground around the nuclear power plant as a staging area, as a platform, to launch artillery attacks on Ukrainian forces”.