US calls for shutdown of Ukraine's attacked nuclear plant

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Station in southeastern Ukraine is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world with 6 nuclear reactors each generating 950 MW for a total power output of 5,700 MW. (File Photo)

The United States has called for the shutdown of a nuclear plant which has been under attack in Ukraine.

The Russian-held Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which is Europe's largest, has been repeatedly under attack.

Both sides of the Ukraine conflict blame the other side for the attacks against the nuclear power plant which raises the risk of causing nuclear contamination in the region.

Russia has even described Kiev's attacks against the facility as “nuclear terrorism.”

Meanwhile, the US has called for a “controlled shutdown” of the facility.

It “would be the safest and least risky option in the near-term,” White House National Security Council spokesperson John Kirby told journalists on Monday.

The same call came from an unnamed senior US defense official, who briefed journalists about the danger on the same day.

In related news, Russia called for "pressure" on Ukraine to stop its attacks against the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

"All countries are obliged to put pressure on the Ukrainian side so that it stops endangering the European continent by shelling" the nuclear plant, Kremlin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on Monday.

“Pressure on the Ukrainian side to stop shelling can reduce military tension,” Peskov insisted.

Peskov said Russia welcomed an upcoming visit to the facility by UN officials and was ready to cooperate with the UN observers but was against creating a demilitarized zone at Zaporizhzhia. The US had suggested setting up a demilitarized zone there.

The facility and the nearby city of Energodar, both under Russian control, have been under constant artillery and drone attack in past weeks.

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog, is scheduled to visit the facility to make an evaluation of the damage to the structure.

The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which was built by Soviet-Russia and has been in Russians hands since March, is run by locals and is still operating.

It used to generate more than 20 percent of Ukraine’s electricity supply before the conflict broke out after Russia launched its “special military operation” in late February.

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