(Reuters) – Russia’s Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Sunday that the leaders of the U.S.-led transatlantic NATO defence alliance should discuss Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant at their summit this week.
NATO leaders will meet in Vilnius on July 11-12 to tackle a wide range of topics, from divisions over Ukraine’s membership bid and Sweden’s accession to boosting ammunitions stockpiles and reviewing the first defence plans in decades.
Accusing Ukraine of “systematic infliction of damage” to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Zakharova said that “the NATO summit’s key attention should be devoted to it.”
“After all, the vast majority of the alliance members will be in the direct impact zone” (if something were to happen at the plant), Zakharova said on the Telegram messaging app.
Vilnius is some 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) from the nuclear plant, Europe’s largest.
Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of planning to attack the plant, which is located on Russian-held territory in Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia region, near the front line of Russia’s conflict with Ukraine.
Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy has for days warned of the grave threat at the facility, most recently saying Russian forces had mined the roof of several reactors.
The International Atomic Energy Agency experts based at the plant that they had yet to observe any indications of mines or explosives at the plant, but they also needed more access to be sure.
(Reporting by Lidia Kelly in Melbourne; Editing by Kim Coghill)
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