New York – The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi compared the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine to playing with fire at a meeting of the UN Security Council. According to the DPA agency, he warned that a catastrophic event could occur at the nuclear facility, which has been occupied by Russian soldiers since March and faces shelling.
“We’re playing with fire and something really, really catastrophic could happen,” Grossi said at a meeting in New York on Tuesday. Last week, the head of the IAEA, along with other experts from his organization, personally went to the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant to assess the situation there.
“Now we need to immediately agree on the creation of a protective shield or bubble around the device,” Grossi said in an interview with the American station CNN. Secretary-General António Guterres also called for the creation of a demilitarized zone around the power plant at the Security Council meeting. However, the proposal has been repeatedly rejected in the past by Moscow, which claims that Ukrainian forces are attacking the power plant. Also on Tuesday, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations Vasilii Nebenzya opposed the idea of creating a demilitarized zone. “The Ukrainians would immediately break in and destroy everything. We are protecting the power plant,” this Russian diplomat told reporters, according to the AP agency.
German Ambassador to the UN Thomas Zahneisen, on the other hand, at the meeting of the Security Council attributed responsibility for the dangerous situation at the power plant to Russia. “Russia militarized the power plant. Russia deployed (army) equipment and soldiers there,” DPA quoted the German ambassador as saying.
Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of shelling the power plant site and attacks near it. At the same time, both sides deny attacking the facility.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report on Tuesday reporting the results of its mission to the plant. According to the report, the inspection noted damage near the reactor buildings as well as damaged infrastructure. The IAEA also said its inspectors at the plant confirmed the presence of Russian troops and military vehicles and equipment, and called for an end to fighting in and around the southern Ukrainian facility.
Lavrov requests clarification on parts of the IAEA report on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is requesting additional explanations for parts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in the Russian-occupied territory of Ukraine. The Interfax agency reported about it today. Russian President Vladimir Putin stated today in Vladivostok that there is no Russian military equipment in the power plant area. At the same time, the IAEA report says the opposite. The head of the Kremlin accused Ukraine of shelling a nuclear facility and endangering its security.
The report published on Tuesday states that the IAEA inspection noted damage near the reactor buildings as well as damaged infrastructure. The IAEA also said its inspectors at the plant confirmed the presence of Russian troops and military vehicles and equipment, and called for an end to fighting in and around the southern Ukrainian facility.
Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of shelling the power plant site and attacks near it. The head of the IAEA, Rafael Grossi, compared the situation at the power plant in fear of a nuclear disaster to playing with fire and called for the creation of a “protective shield or bubble around the facility.” Secretary-General António Guterres also spoke out for the creation of a demilitarized zone around the power plant. However, Moscow has repeatedly rejected the proposal in the past.
Lavrov told Interfax news agency that Moscow wanted more information about the IAEA’s findings and had sent a corresponding request. “Further clarifications are needed because there are a number of questions in the report. I will not list them now, but we have asked the Director General of the IAEA for clarification,” Lavrov said.
Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova previously accused the West of building pressure for an IAEA inspection of the plant.
Today in Vladivostok, Russian President Putin repeated Russian accusations that Ukraine is shelling the Zaporozhye power plant, thereby threatening the nuclear safety of Europe. He also claimed that Russia has no military material on its premises.
At the same time, the IAEA report mentions that the inspection team saw Russian soldiers, military vehicles and other military equipment in various places of the complex. For example, there were several military trucks on the ground floor of the turbine halls of the first two blocks, which the report also confirms with a photograph.
The Ukrainian mayor of Enerhodar, where the power plant is located, said today that two local neighborhoods are without electricity and gas for several months due to Russian shelling. Some areas of the city are on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, mayor Dmytro Orlov warned.
Oleh Korikov, head of the Ukrainian Nuclear Safety Authority, said today that Ukraine is also investigating the possibility of closing the Zaprozh power plant for safety reasons. At the same time, he expressed concern about the state of diesel stocks, which are used in backup generators.
Russia Ukraine UN nuclear diplomacy