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HomeVideosInternational mission heads to Europe's largest nuclear power plant | USA TODAY

International mission heads to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant | USA TODAY

A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency is on the way to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine after a nearby town was hit by Russian shelling.

RELATED: Zaporizhzhia plant: Ukraine prepares for catastrophe

The plant, Europe’s largest, has for weeks been caught in the middle of intense fighting between Ukrainian and Russian troops. Last week the plant was temporarily disconnected from the power grid for the first time ever when fires damaged the sole transmission line, Ukraine officials said. That led to a massive blackout across the region.

The U.N. and international atomic energy officials have been trying for weeks to gain access to the plant, warning that continued fighting in the vicinity could trigger a disastrous accident. Russia has controlled the plant and area around it for several months, but Ukrainian workers operat it. Fighting in the area has been constant, and minor damage to the plant is occasionally reported.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has accused Russia of storing weapons at the plant and launching attacks from around it, essentially using the plant for cover. Zelenskyy says Russia’s military actions there amount to “nuclear blackmail.” Moscow, meanwhile, accuses Ukraine of recklessly firing on the facility.

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