Russia-Ukraine War: IAEA seeks ‘permanent’ presence at Russia-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

Russian soldier

A Russian soldier guarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. (File image)

Photo : AP

Kyiv: A 14-membered team of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Ukraine‘s Zaporizhzhia to visit the nuclear plant held by Russia. The UN inspectors said that they would seek a permanent presence at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, reported AFP.
Notably, the 14-member team headed by IAEA chief Rafael Grossi will arrive at the nuclear facility on Thursday. “My mission is… to prevent a nuclear accident and preserve the largest nuclear power plant in Europe,” said Grossi as quoted by the news agency.

On Wednesday, fresh shelling reportedly struck the town of Energodar next to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility raising global concern about the radiation leak from the plant. Ukrainian officials accused Russia of carrying out the strikes.

Also Read: Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky meets IAEA team ahead of its visit to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.

Energodar’s Mayor Dmytro Orlov said that one of the shells hit the city council. He also posted pictures of the damaged building on his telegram account. Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Oleg Nikolenko said that Russian forces should stop shelling the corridors to be used by the IAEA mission and not to obstruct activities at the plant.

Both Ukraine and Russia blamed each other for shelling the nuclear facility. The plant has been under Russian control since March this year. Ukraine alleged that Russia was deploying hundreds of soldiers and storing ammunition inside the facility.

On the other hand, the Russian defence ministry accused Ukraine of continued provocations with the aim to disrupt the work of the IAEA mission. As per the AFP report, the Russian ministry claimed that Ukrainian forces shelled the area around the plant on Tuesday and also hit a building containing the solid radioactive waste processing complex.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 this year.