Pope Francis issues a "nuclear disaster" alert at Ukraine Zaporizhzhia plant
Pope Francis issues a
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ROME/ VATICAN CITY: Pope Francis urged "concrete efforts" on Wednesday to put an end to the conflict in Ukraine and reduce the possibility of a nuclear meltdown at the Zaporizhzhia power facility. 

The United Nation nuclear regulator IAEA announced on Tuesday that, if access negotiations are successful, it will travel to the Ukrainian plant now under Russian control in the next days.

The plant is the largest of its kind in Europe and was taken seized by pro-Moscow forces shortly after the invasion on February 24. Russia and Ukraine have regularly accused one another of firing at the facility. The demilitarisation of the area has been demanded by the UN. 

Pope Francis said during his weekly public audience, "I trust that real actions will be made to put an end to the war and to reduce the possibility of a nuclear tragedy at Zaporizhzhia.

Pope Francis pointed to the death of Darya Dugina, daughter of a famous Russian ultra-nationalist, in a vehicle bombing outside Moscow on Saturday as he denounced wars as "madness" on the day Ukraine celebrates its independence from Soviet domination in 1991 and six months after Russian forces invaded. He said, "Innocents pay for war, innocents."

Moscow attributed the murder to Ukrainian spies, a claim Kiev refutes. Francis referred to war profiteering arms dealers as "delinquents who destroy mankind."

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