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Zelensky calls for Russian withdrawal from nuclear power plant

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Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky on Wednesday repeated call for Moscow to immediately return the embattled Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant to full Ukrainian control ahead of talks with UN Secretary-General António Guterres.

“The Russian army must withdraw from the territory of the nuclear power plant and all neighbouring areas, and take away its military equipment from the plant,” Zelensky said.

Zelensky said this in his nightly video address.

“This must happen without any conditions and as soon as possible,”

Zelensky said Ukrainian diplomats, scientists and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) were working on sending an IAEA mission to the plant.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had earlier called on Moscow to withdraw its forces and agree to an inspection of the plant.

“The seizure of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant by Russian forces poses a serious threat to the safety and the security of this facility,’’ Stoltenberg said in Brussels.

“It raises the risks of a nuclear accident or incident, and endangers the population of Ukraine, of neighbouring countries, and of the international community,” he added.

The IAEA visit to the plant would be among the subjects of discussion in a meeting between Zelensky, Guterres and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan set to take place in the western Ukrainian city of Lviv Thursday.

The Turkish side said the trio would discuss ending the war between Ukraine and Russia through diplomatic channels.

Meanwhile, fighting continued on the ground, with Russian troops making minor gains in the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, the Ukrainian General Staff said on Wednesday.

In the northeast, Russian shelling on Kharkiv, Ukraine’s second-largest city, killed at least six people and hit a skyscraper, Kharkiv Mayor Ihor Terekhov said on Telegram.

Regional governor Oleh Syniehubov said that other locations in the city were also hit and said the shelling was pretty chaotic.

In Crimea, the Russian-controlled Black Sea peninsula in Ukraine’s south, Russia announced the arrest of six Islamists.

That followed explosions on Tuesday that marked the second set of blasts in Crimea in a week.

Russia’s security service the FSB said the six men belonged to Hizb ut-Tahrir, which was banned in Russia and labelled a terrorist organisation.

There was no explicit connection made between the arrests and the Crimean blasts the previous day, but some of those detained were in the town of Dzhankoi, not far from the ammunition depot.

Moscow had called the explosion at a Russian ammunition depot in Crimea an act of sabotage.

Ukraine expressed satisfaction after the explosions but did not take responsibility.

The Ukrainian military intelligence service said it observed the Russian Air Force moving 24 fighter jets and 14 helicopters in what appeared to be an attempt to bring the aircraft to safety.

The information could not be verified.

Since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014, several Crimean Tatars have been detained and convicted of Hizb ut-Tahrir membership.

Large segments of the Muslim minority, which faced massive state repression in Soviet times, reject Russia’s rule on the peninsula.

naija news today

Cecilia Odey

NEWSVERGE, published by The Verge Communications is an online community of international news portal and social advocates dedicated to bringing you commentaries, features, news reports from a Nigerian-African perspective. A unique organization, founded in the spirit of Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, comprising of ordinary people with an overriding commitment to seeking the truth and publishing it without fear or favour. The Verge Communications is fully registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as a corporate organization.

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