Top adviser to Ukrainian president says he doesn’t expect breakthrough from IAEA mission at Zaporozhye power plant
International organizations, including the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), are “cowardly” and they cannot be trusted, said a senior official of Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky.
“I don’t like international institutions and mediation missions in general. They look extremely inefficient, extremely cowardly and extremely unprofessional,” Mikhail Podolyak said in an interview on Thursday evening.
It applies “not just at the IAEA”but also at the UN, Amnesty International and the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Ukrainian official said, adding: “By default, you shouldn’t trust them.”
Podolyak’s remarks came as he criticized the IAEA mission to the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, which arrived earlier in the day. He expressed low expectations for the mission, based on positive remarks Director General Rafael Grossi made after visiting the facility in Ukraine.
The Ukrainian official said he was willing to give IAEA inspectors the benefit of the doubt and wait for them to produce an official report that “show the depth of their inner destruction”.
He explained his concerns, citing several aspects of Grossi’s visit. They include its relatively short duration, which Podolyak said was too short for a real fact-finding mission. He also criticized the IAEA chief’s willingness to speak to a representative of the Russian atomic energy body Rosatom, who, Podolyak said, “gave a strange long speech” to the UN official.
IAEA experts arrived at the station from kyiv despite continuing military actions in the surrounding area. Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other of being behind the bombings and of trying to derail the inspection. Some mission members remained behind to monitor the situation, while Grossi and others left.
Podolyak said the IAEA should blame Russia for the attacks on the plant, and if their report does not, stating only that inspectors witnessed evidence of strikes, its opinion of the organization will be justified.
President Vladimir Zelensky also expressed skepticism about the IAEA’s visit to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. In a video statement Thursday night, he accused Grossi of failing to secure access to the station for “independent journalists”who wanted to visit the inspectors.
Russia has accused kyiv of trying to send intelligence agents under cover of the press. The visit was covered by Russian-approved reporters, whom Zelensky called “a crowd of propagandists.”