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U.N. chief calls for demilitarization at Zaporizhzhia

STORY: As Europe's largest nuclear power plant becomes the center of escalating tensions between Russia and Ukraine prompting fears of catastrophe...

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for its urgent demilitarization.

"We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to Zaporizhzhia is suicide.”

It comes as Guterres met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan for talks in Lviv.

The situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant was top of the agenda.

Both sides also say the other is planning a 'provocation' at the facility on Friday.

It was captured by Russian forces soon after the invasion of Ukraine, and the two countries have accused each other of shelling the plant.

Russia has said it could shut down the facility – a move Kyiv warns would increase the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

Shutting down a nuclear power plant is a complicated operation that requires halting nuclear chain reactions while protecting fuel from heating up and causing a meltdown.

Zelenskiy accused Russia of "nuclear blackmail."

"On nuclear security, this is most definitely the priority of the whole world. New challenges. Russia should immediately, without any preconditions, withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant."

Moscow has rejected the idea of demilitarizing the plant.

Reuters cannot independently confirm the military situation there or the responsibility for shelling of the plant.

The war has killed thousands and forced millions to flee after Moscow launched what it calls a “special military operation” in February.