Kyiv/Moscow – A team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine early this afternoon, Ukrainian energy company Enerhoatom reported. The arrival of the delegation to the facility, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March, was also confirmed by Interfax and Reuters.
The start of a long-awaited inspection at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which is located near the front line, delayed for several hours the shelling that Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for. Both sides are also guilty of provocations that were supposed to prevent the IAEA mission.
The Ukrainian state company Enerhoatom said this morning that one of the two reactors still operating was shut down early this morning as a result of Russian shelling, but the radiation situation remains normal. Moscow claims that Ukrainian forces unsuccessfully carried out a diversionary airdrop at Enerhodar today that was supposed to prevent the IAEA mission.
A 14-member inspection team led by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi traveled to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv, leaving Ukrainian-controlled Zaporozhye on the last leg in the morning. He picked up at least a three-hour delay by waiting at the Novooleksandrivka checkpoint, located about 20 kilometers before the touchline.
Russia claims that Ukraine carried out the landing at Enerhodar
According to the Russian Ministry of Defense, Ukrainian forces carried out an airdrop near the town of Enerhodar, near which the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is located, and were attacked by the Russian air force.
Information about the Ukrainian military presence on the occupied bank of the Dnieper could not be verified from independent sources, Kyiv has not yet commented on this claim. This morning, the Ukrainian side talked about the Russian “mortar shelling” of Enerhodar. The increased military activity in the area was also confirmed by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi before the departure of the team from Zaporizhia, according to him, the mission continues.
The Russian Ministry of Defense announced in a statement that Ukrainian forces attempted to attack the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. Up to 60 soldiers reportedly crossed the Dnieper River in boats this morning in what was supposed to be a “provocation” to disrupt an IAEA inspection mission, the ministry said.
The alleged Ukrainian attackers were stopped by members of the Russian National Guard guarding the power plant, the ministry said. “A sabotage group of the Ukrainian Armed Forces is currently being liquidated with the help of helicopters of the Army Air Force,” the office reports.
According to him, the Ukrainian army also shelled the place near the village of Vasylivka, where the inspection mission was supposed to cross the front line. The power plant itself also became the target of Ukrainian shelling, when four artillery shells landed at a distance of 400 meters from one of the blocks, the ministry claims.
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