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New York [US], September 22 (ANI): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday expressed concerns over the situation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in conflict-ravaged Ukraine and said that any damage to nuclear infrastructure could have terrible consequences for people in the area and beyond.

Briefing a meeting of the 15-member Security Council, the UN Secretary-General said, "The situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant - located in the middle of a war zone - remains a cause of grave concern. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is consulting with all parties involved on measures to ensure the safety of the plant and surrounding areas.""Any damage to nuclear infrastructure, whether deliberate or not, could have terrible consequences for people around the plant and far beyond. The world cannot afford a nuclear catastrophe," he added.

In the wake of increasing fears of nuclear disaster, the last operational reactor at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine has been entirely shut to avoid the risk of further damage to the power lines as it remained high. The six-reactor Zaporizhzhia plant was cut off from the grid earlier this month after all its power lines were disconnected as a result of clashes between Russian and Ukrainian forces in the area.

The UN Secretary-General highlighted the need to end the war, saying that it was the only way to end the suffering in Ukraine.

"There is only one way to end the suffering in Ukraine - and that is by ending the war. I will continue to spare no effort for peace - peace in line with international law and the Charter of the United Nations," UN Secretary-General said.

Further speaking of the Black Sea Grain deal, UN Secretary-General said that since the signing of the deal, global food prices have dropped sharply. He asked the states to provide clear passage to the export of Russian fertilizers, warning that if the fertilizer market is not stabilized, the world may face a food crisis, next year.

"Since the signing of the Black Sea Grain Initiative, global food prices have dropped sharply, although they are still almost 8 per cent higher than a year ago. It is vital that these food shipments continue and increase, so commodity markets further stabilize.""If the fertilizer market is not stabilized, next year could bring a food supply crisis. Simply put, the world may run out of food. It is essential that all States remove every remaining obstacle to the export of Russian fertilizers immediately," he added.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on Wednesday demanded punishment for Russia for the war in Ukraine, which has left thousands of people killed, displaced millions and reduced towns to rubble. Zelenskyy in a pre-recorded message to the United Nations General Assembly called for a special tribunal to punish Russia for its aggression.

Zelenskiyy's address to world leaders came after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered partial military mobilization in Moscow. Russia plans to conscript around 300,000 troops in an apparent escalation of its Ukraine invasion that began in February this year.

Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday announced that he had signed a decree on partial mobilization in Russia amid the ongoing war in Ukraine.

He said that it was necessary to support the proposal of the Ministry of Defense and the General Staff to conduct partial mobilization in the Russian Federation in order to protect our homeland, its sovereignty and territorial integrity, to ensure the security of our people and people in the liberated territories.

Referendums on joining Russia will be held in the Donetsk and Lugansk People's Republics, as well as the Kherson and Zaporizhzhia regions in eastern Ukraine on September 23-27. (ANI)

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