“This mission will be the hardest in the history of the IAEA,” Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said on Monday.
The Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced Monday morning August 29 that he was on his way to the Ukrainian Zaporizhia nuclear power planttarget in recent weeks of strikes.
“The day has come, the IAEA mission to Zaporizhia is now on its way. We must protect the security of Ukraine and the largest power plant in Europe“, wrote Rafael Grossi on Twitter, specifying that the mission would arrive on site “later this week“. In a photo accompanying his message, the head of the IAEA poses with a team of ten people, wearing caps and vests with the logo of the UN body.
The G7 countries,deeply concerned» by the nuclear accident riskalso requested on Monday the guarantee of access “freelyby IAEA staff at this plant. “We emphasize that any attempt by Russia to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian power grid would be unacceptable“, further warns in a statement the group of directors of the G7 on non-proliferation, stressing that the nuclear power plant should not “not be used for military activities or storage of military equipment“.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kouleba said during a trip to Stockholm that “this mission will be the hardest in the history of the IAEA because of the combat activity carried out by Russia on the ground but also the obvious way in which Russia tries to legitimize its presence“.
SEE ALSO – Moscow says Ukrainian drone shot down near Zaporizhia power plant
“Real risk of nuclear catastrophe»
Rafael Grossi had been asking for several months to be able to go to the scene, warning of the “real risk of nuclear disaster“. The Zaporizhia power plant, where six of the fifteen Ukrainian reactors are located, was taken by Russian troops in early March, shortly after the launch of the invasion on February 24, and is near the front line in the South.
kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of carrying out bombings near the complex, near the town of Energodar, on the Dnieper River, and thus putting the site in danger. Ukrainian operator Energoatom warned on Saturday against the risk of radioactive leaks and fire after new strikes. In recent weeks, Zaporijjia crystallizes the concerns of Westerners. The UN has called for an end to all military activity in the surrounding area.
Initially, Ukraine feared that such a visit would legitimize the Russian occupation of the site in the eyes of the international community before finally supporting the idea of an IAEA mission. Before this “dangeroussituation, President Volodymyr Zelensky had urged the UN nuclear police on Friday to send a team as soon as possible.
SEE ALSO – Zaporizhia power station: “Nuclear should not be an object of war“says Emmanuel Macron
The Kremlin calls forpressure» about Ukraine
For its part, the Kremlin called on the international community to “pressureon Ukrainian forces to reduce tension around the plant. “All countries have an obligation to pressure the Ukrainian side to stop endangering the European continent by bombing the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant and adjacent areassaid Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. He further described as “necessary» the inspection mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Volodymyr Zelensky, for his part estimated “not normal that there are still no sanctions against Rosatom for this radiation blackmail at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant“. The Ukrainian president was speaking during a video intervention at an energy conference in Stavanger, Norway.
Between Thursday and Friday, the plant and its six reactors of 1000 megawatts each were “totally disconnected” from the national grid due to damage to the power lines, according to kyiv, before being reconnected and restarted. Vladimir Putin accepted the organization of a mission passing “by Ukraineand not by Russia, which he previously demanded, the French presidency had indicated in mid-August after a telephone interview with Emmanuel Macron with the Russian President.
SEE ALSO – War in Ukraine: Russia accuses kyiv of bombing Zaporizhia nuclear power plant