Contradanyc.com – The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Tuesday it was “still very concerned” about the PBB Nuclear Agency Concerns Security safety and security of Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, the Zaporizhzhia facility located in the middle of a battleground between Ukrainian and Russian forces in southern Ukraine.
“The situation is now untenable, and the best way to ensure the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and its people is to end armed conflict now,” the PBB Nuclear Agency Concerns Security said in a new report, after IAEA chief Rafael Grossi and a team of observers visited the site last week. , even when shooting occurs near the facility.
The IAEA said they found severe damage at the factory but did not blame the two warring parties.
Russia, whose troops controlled the facility from the start of its invasion, and Ukraine, whose engineers ran the facility, each accused the other of firing on the facility.
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IAEA inspectors said they found Russian troops and equipment inside, including military vehicles parked near the turbines. “Ukrainian staff who manage the facility are under Russian military occupation and are under constant pressure, especially with the limited staff available,” the IAEA report said.
Russia Allows PBB Inspection of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant
Russian President Vladimir Putin said UN officials would be granted permission to visit and inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex. The Kremlin made the announcement after a phone call between Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron.
It came after UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres told the BBC he was “concerned” about the situation at the plant. He said military activity around Zaporizhzhia should end and urged Moscow to give inspectors access.
The site has been under Russian occupation since early March but Ukrainian technicians are still operating it under Russian direction.
After a telephone conversation between French and Russian leaders, the Kremlin said Putin had agreed to provide PBB investigators with “necessary assistance” to access the site.
“Both leaders noted the importance” of sending IAEA experts to the factory for an assessment of “the situation on the ground,” the Kremlin said.
The director general of the United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), welcomed Putin’s remarks, and said he was willing to lead a visit to the plant himself.
“In this extremely volatile and fragile situation, it is imperative that no new actions are taken that could further jeopardize the safety and security of one of the largest nuclear power plants in the world,” said Rafael Grossi.
Turned into a Military Base
Ukrainian officials said Russia had turned the compound into a military base, deploying military equipment, weapons and about 500 soldiers who used the site as a shield to attack towns across the Dnieper River.
And in recent weeks, the area around the facility has come under heavy artillery strikes, with Kiev and Moscow blaming each other for the attacks.
On Thursday, during a meeting with Guterres and Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky criticized Russia’s “deliberate” attack on the power plant.
Despite showing some willingness to grant access to inspectors, Russian officials have steadfastly rejected international demands to demilitarize the site.
Ivan Nechayev, deputy director of the Russian foreign ministry’s information and press department, said Friday that such a move would make the factory “even more vulnerable”.
Meanwhile, Russia submitted a letter to the PBB Security Council detailing the alleged “provocations” Ukraine planned for the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
Russia’s mission to the United Nations alleged that Ukraine wanted to cause “what they believe to be a minor accident”, consisting of a radiation leak, which could expose Russia to “nuclear terrorism”.
The letter denied that Russian forces kept weapons at the site. It reiterates allegations that Ukraine has shelled the factory.