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Russia's Defense Ministry said today that the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine could be shut down if Ukrainian forces continue shelling the facility - something Kyiv denies it has done, BTA reports.

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At a briefing, the head of Russia's nuclear, chemical and biological defense forces (NKBZ) Igor Kirilov said that the auxiliary systems that ensure the operation of the plant were damaged as a result of shelling.

He added that in the event of a nuclear accident at the plant, the radiation would reach Germany, Poland and Slovakia.

More than 40 countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhia NPP

UN Secretary General António Guterres, who will meet with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky today, called for an end to any fighting around the plant.

Yevgeny Balitsky, the head of the Russian-appointed administration of Zaporozhye Oblast, said earlier that there was a risk that the shelling could damage the plant's cooling system. 

Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov told reporters that Moscow was taking measures to ensure the safety of the facility and denied that Russia had deployed heavy weapons in and around the plant.

Russia claims that Ukrainian forces are indiscriminately shelling the Zaporizhzhia NPP. 

Ukraine claims that Russia is deliberately using the plant as a base to carry out attacks on Ukrainian troops, and that Russian forces are shelling it themselves to then blame Kyiv for cutting off the electricity. 

The Zaporizhia NPP was captured by Russian forces in March.

It remains close to the front line and has been repeatedly shelled in recent weeks.

Russia and Ukraine blame each other for this. 

Russian invasion of Ukraine

Zaporozhye NPP