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Russia accuses Ukraine of shelling around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

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Russia on Tuesday accused Ukraine of repeatedly shelling around Europe’s largest nuclear plant as a report on the facility was expected from the UN atomic agency.

Russia and Ukraine have in recent weeks traded blame for shelling around the Moscow-controlled Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine, raising fears of a nuclear disaster.

There were seven strikes on the territory of the plant on Tuesday, a Moscow-installed official in Zaporizhzhia, Vladimir Rogov, said on social media.

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“Ukrainian soldiers opened fire on Energodar and its surroundings,” damaging a power line and reducing the capacity of the last working reactor, Rogov said.

In the past 24 hours, the territory of the nuclear plant and its neighboring city of Energodar were hit 15 times, the Russian defense ministry said in its daily briefing.

“Kyiv continues its provocations at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in order to create a threat of a man-made disaster,” the ministry said.

Radiation levels around the plant are “normal,” according to ministry.

Energodar’s exiled Ukrainian mayor Dmytro Orlov said a loud explosion was heard around midday (0900 GMT) in the city, and that its “circumstances were being clarified.”

With fears of an incident rising, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) sent a team last week to conduct in-depth investigations.

Two members of the team are expected to stay on site on a permanent basis.

A report from the IAEA is expected on Tuesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said he “hoped (the report) would be impartial” in his daily address on Monday.

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