Plans for a visit to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant by a team of the United Nations Nuclear Observatory included plans for inspectors to arrive in the Ukrainian-controlled city of Zaporizhia on Wednesday and from there move south to cross the front line. Uncertainty remains.
The International Atomic Energy Agency mission to Russian-controlled territory was reportedly intended to last four days, comprising representatives of countries deemed neutral by both sides.
But on Wednesday, Russian occupation authorities announced that they would grant the IAEA access for just one day. They also said the mission would be expected to join a line of civilians traveling between Ukraine and Russian-controlled territory.
These potential hazards are in addition to safety concerns. Ukraine and Russia have ensured security for the mission to move to the plant and neighboring areas, said Rafael Grossi, head of the agency, before leaving Kyiv.
Olev Nikolenko, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine, wrote on Facebook that Russia should not interfere with the mission’s work at the factory.
The factory and surrounding towns continue to come under shelling. Last week, fighting at and around Europe’s largest nuclear power plant damaged a critical power supply, causing global concern.
Grossi described the mission as “extremely complex.”
“We are going to a war zone,” he said. “We are going to the occupied territories. And this requires explicit guarantees not only from Russia, but also from the Republic of Ukraine.”
According to Dmitro Orlov, the mayor in exile, the city council building in Enerjodar, the satellite city of the power plant, came under shelling overnight. On Monday, the power plant, Enerkhoda and the nearby Ukrainian-controlled town of Nikapol came under heavy shelling.
Grossi said it wants to set up a permanent mission in Ukraine to monitor the plant.
The Wall Street Journal reported Monday that the mission will spend four days at the factory. But on Wednesday, Yevgeny Baritsky, head of the Russian-installed Zaporizhzhya government and a Russian-appointed official, said by Russian news agency Interfax that the delegation would only be given one day at the facility. I was told
Members of the Russian-dominated Zaporizhzhya government said the mission was not a priority and that they would have to wait in line to cross the front lines and enter the occupied territories of the Zaporizhzhya province. People are queuing to reach liberated parts of the region, because no special passes are issued, ”Volodymyr Rogov wrote in Telegram. He wrote that the IAEA would have easier access to the plant if it came through Russia.
Occupied by Russian forces in March, the Zaporizhia factory, which is run by Ukrainian staff, has fallen into a war of attrition, largely fought in eastern and southern Ukraine, six months after Russia began its invasion. located in the hotspots of
Russia and Ukraine have exchanged responsibility for the attack on and near the factory. Russia says the attack is being carried out by Ukraine.
The world was in jeopardy last week when fighting cut off power to the plant and cut it off the grid for the first time. The plant requires power for its cooling rods and security system.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said the world had narrowly avoided a “radiation disaster”. A backup power supply line was activated and the plant escaped dangerous overheating.
Russia is poised to hold referendums in the newly occupied Zaporizhia and Kherson regions for months, but fighting and attacks continue in the region.
Ukrainian forces frequently strike deep into occupied territories using long-range rockets supplied by the West, and Russian-appointed officials have been targeted in a series of assassinations.
Russia is using the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant as a military base. Ukraine, the US and the UN have called for the demilitarization of the facility. Russia’s TASS news agency, citing Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, said Russia said there were no “ongoing discussions” about demilitarization.
Germany’s Garshchenko, Ukraine’s energy minister, said Kyiv is seeking international help to try to demilitarize the region. “We believe this mission will be a very important step towards returning the plant to the control of the Ukrainian government by the end of the year,” he told the Associated Press. “We have information that they are currently trying to cover up their military presence, so we need to check all of this.”
The European Union’s diplomatic representative Josep Borrell told the Ukrinform news agency that he hoped the mission would be a success. Speaking at an informal meeting of EU foreign ministers, Borrell accused Russia of “playing pretend” with nuclear security and called for the demilitarization of nuclear power plants.
The US wants the factories closed. “For the time being, we continue to believe that a controlled shutdown of the Zaporizhia reactor is the safest and least risky option,” said White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby.