Ukraine nuclear plant attack prompts U.N. call for access

STORY: U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of Europe's largest atomic plant at the weekend.

Speaking at a conference in Japan after attending the 77th anniversary of Hiroshima, Guterres called the attack suicidal:

"Any attack to a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing and I hope that those attacks will end, and at the same time I hope that the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) will be able to have access to the plant and to exercise its mandate competencies."

Guterres also called on the international community to commit to not using nuclear arsenals.

"I believe this is the moment when the risk of a nuclear confrontation is back, something that we have forgotten for decades. This is the moment, as I said, to ask the nuclear-armed countries to commit to the principle of non-first-use, and to commit to not use and not threaten, as I mentioned, non-nuclear-armed countries, with full transparency in relation to their arsenals."

Russian forces captured the Ukrainian nuclear plant in March.

Ukraine accused Russia of being responsible for the shelling on Saturday after three radiation sensors were damaged.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said on Sunday that Russia was waging "nuclear terror" that warranted more sanctions on Moscow's nuclear sector:

The region's Russian-installed authority said Ukrainian forces hit the site with a multiple rocket launcher, damaging administrative buildings and an area near a storage facility.

Reuters could not verify either side's version of what happened.

Armed conflict at the Soviet-era Zaporizhzhia site has alarmed the world.