Schedule for UN mission to Zaporozhye nuclear power plant unveiled
An IAEA team has been formed and will arrive later this week, the head of the watchdog said.
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has formed a delegation that will visit the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Ukraine starting this week, the head of the watchdog, Rafael Grossi, announced on Monday. The factory has been under Russian control since March and has been shelled several times by Ukrainian forces.
« The day has come, the IAEA Support and Assistance Mission in Zaporozhye (ISAMZ) is now on its way. We must protect the safety and security of the largest nuclear facility in Ukraine and Europe“, he wrote on Twitter, adding that he is”proud to lead this missionwhich is expected to hit the site later this week.
The day has come, @IAEAorgThe Support and Assistance Mission of #Zaporizhzhya (ISAMZ) is now on its way. We must protect the safety and security of #Ukraine‘s and the largest nuclear facility in Europe. Proud to carry out this mission which will be #ZNPP later this week. pic.twitter.com/tyVY7l4SrM
— Rafael Mariano Grossi (@rafaelmgrossi) August 29, 2022
Earlier, Grossi said the purpose of the mission was to see what exactly is going on at the plant, assess its integrity, talk to Russian and Ukrainian personnel and establish a permanent presence on the ground.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the IAEA delegation was made up of independent experts from « mostly neutral countriesand neither the US nor the UK have representatives on the team due to their strong backing in Kyiv.
On Sunday evening, Ukrainian forces shelled Energodar, the town where the plant is located, local authorities said. According to Evgeny Balitsky, the head of the pro-Russian military-civilian administration, three residential houses were deliberately hit by artillery fire, injuring nine people, two of whom were seriously injured.
City authorities also claimed the attack was aimed at torpedoing the IAEA mission. “This provocation by Kyiv-controlled militants aims to derail the visit of the head of the IAEA to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant,” they said.
Moscow has repeatedly blamed Ukrainian forces for attacking the nuclear power plant and Energodar, while warning that the bombing could trigger a catastrophe that would overshadow the Chernobyl incident in 1986. kyiv insists Russian forces are bombing the site while stationing military equipment there.