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Ukraine nuclear site safe as talks near Chernobyl

Two security personnel were injured but safety systems remain intact after a military projectile hit a building near Ukraine's nuclear power plant.

Russian forces in Ukraine have seized Europe's biggest nuclear power plant in an assault that caused alarm around the world although officials said later that the facility was now safe.

Fighting also raged elsewhere in Ukraine as Russian forces besieged and bombarded several cities in the second week of an invasion launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The Kremlin said that what happens next in the negotiations over Ukraine will depend on Kyiv officials' reaction to this week's talks between the two sides.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call on Friday that no documents had been agreed with Ukraine at the talks but that Russia had told the Ukrainian side how it saw the solution to the war.

"The talks that took place were a good opportunity to clearly convey to the Ukrainian side our vision of solving this problem. Going forward, everything will depend on the reaction of the Ukrainian side."

Peskov was speaking after a second round of talks held on Thursday, after which the two sides said they had reached an understanding on the need to create humanitarian corridors to evacuate civilians.

Asked about a call by US Senator Lindsey Graham on Twitter for someone in Russia to "take out" Putin, Peskov said it was an example of hysterical Russophobia.

"Of course, these days not everyone is managing to preserve a sober mind, I would even say a sound mind," Peskov said.

He called for national unity from Russians. 

"Now is not the time to divide, now is the time for all to unite, be together, and unite of course around our president."

UN atomic chief Rafael Grossi said on Friday that no damage was done to reactors at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and there was no release of radioactive material after a military projectile hit a nearby building on the site.

Two members of security staff were injured when the projectile hit overnight after the Ukrainian authorities reported a battle with Russian troops near Europe's biggest power plant, which is operating at just a small fraction of its capacity with one of its six units still running.

At a news conference called at short notice, International Atomic Energy Agency chief Grossi showed an overhead shot of the site and the building that was hit, a training centre close to but separate from the row of reactor units.

"What we understand is that this projectile is a projectile that is coming from the Russian forces. We do not have details about the kind of projectile," Grossi said, adding that the radiation monitoring system at the site was functioning normally.

"We of course are fortunate that there was no release of radiation and that the integrity of the reactors in themselves was not compromised," he added.

Russia's Defence Ministry blamed the attack on Ukrainian "saboteurs". 

Zaporizhzhia is the biggest of the country's four operational nuclear power plants, together providing about half of Ukraine's electricity.

Grossi suggested meeting Russian and Ukrainian officials at defunct power plant Chernobyl so that they could commit not to do anything to endanger nuclear security in Ukraine.

Russia and Ukraine were considering his offer of a meeting at Chernobyl.

 Grossi appealed overnight on both sides not to clash near Zaporizhzhia.

"I'm extremely concerned. This is something which is very, very fragile, very unstable as a situation," he said on Friday.

Kyiv, in the path of a Russian armoured column that has been stalled on a road for days, came under renewed attack on Friday, with explosions audible from the city centre.

In Kyiv's Borshchahivka neighbourhood, the twisted engine of a cruise missile lay in the street where it had apparently been downed overnight by Ukrainian air defences.

The southeastern port city of Mariupol has been encircled and shelled. 

Its mayor said on Friday it had no water, heat or electricity and is running out of food after five days under attack.

"We are simply being destroyed," Mayor Vadym Boychenko said.

However, NATO allies on Friday rejected Ukraine's appeal for no-fly zones, saying they were increasing support but that stepping in directly would lead to a broader even more brutal European war.

Germany's Chancellor Olaf Scholz became the latest leader to phone Putin and demand he call off the war. 


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