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Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky visits a missile-damaged area of Zaporizhzhia, Ukraine, Monday March 27, 2023. (Efrem Lukatsky/Associated Press)

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenksy on Monday thanked the secretary general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for his support and accused Russia of nuclear blackmail over its control of Ukraineโ€™s largest nuclear power plant.

The accusations come after Zelenksy visited the regions of Zaporizhzhia and Dnipro.

โ€œI met with IAEA head Rafael Grossi. The topic is clear: the security of our energy industry, our nuclear plants. First of all, the Zaporizhzhia NPP, which Russia still uses for radiation blackmail of the world,โ€ Zelensky said in his nightly address from Dnipro on Monday. โ€œNo other terrorist has reached such depths in his cynicism, in which Russia constantly seeks and finds a new bottom.โ€

Zelensky said Russiaโ€™s occupation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant threatened global security.ย 

โ€œHolding a nuclear power plant hostage for more than a year is the worst thing that could happen in the history of the European and in general global nuclear energy sector,โ€ he said. โ€œThe longer the Russian occupation of the ZNPP continues, the greater will be the threat to the security of Ukraine, the whole of Europe and the world.โ€

โ€œI am grateful to our partners, grateful to Grossi for understanding this and for supporting Ukraine in the relevant issues,โ€ Zelensky said.ย 

Zelenskyโ€™s meeting with Grossi came ahead of his visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant later in the week.

Zelensky met with frontline soldiers, visited a military hospital in Zaporizhzhia and saw the impact of Russian shelling in Marhanets and Nikopol. He also held a Cabinet meeting in Dnipro.ย 

โ€œI have just held a meeting of the Staff โ€” for the first time away, in Dnipro. Right here โ€” in the strategic city of the center of our country, after visiting Marhanets and Nikopol, Zaporizhzhia, the frontline positions of our warriors in the Zaporizhzhia region,โ€ he said. โ€œThe commanders of the operational areas reported the actual situation.โ€

โ€œEvery commander understands that the enemy must be held accountable for every attack on our cities and villages, on our people. For Sloviansk, for Kostiantynivka and Druzhkivka, for Avdiivka and Toretsk, for all the pain of Ukrainians โ€” and not only during the full-scale war, but also since 2014,โ€ he said.

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