Timeline for UN mission to Zaporozhye nuclear plant revealed
An IAEA team has been formed and will arrive later this week, the head of the watchdog has said
The UN’s International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has formed a delegation that will visit Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine as early as this week, the watchdog’s chief, Rafael Grossi, announced on Monday. The plant has been under Russian control since March and has been repeatedly shelled by Ukrainian forces.
“The day has come, IAEA’s Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporozhye (ISAMZ) is now on its way. We must protect the safety and security of Ukraine’s and Europe’s biggest nuclear facility,” he wrote on Twitter, adding that he is “proud to lead this mission,” which is set to arrive at the site later this week.
Earlier, Grossi said the goal of the mission is to see what exactly is happening at the plant, assess its integrity, speak to both Russian and Ukrainian staff, and establish a permanent presence on the ground.
On Saturday, the New York Times reported that the IAEA delegation consists of independent experts from “mostly neutral countries,” and neither the US nor the UK have any representatives on the team due to their strong support for Kiev.
On Sunday night, Ukrainian forces shelled Energodar, the city where the plant is located, the 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, with two sustaining heavy wounds.
The city authorities also claimed that the attack was meant to torpedo the IAEA mission. “This provocation by Kiev-controlled militants is aimed at derailing the visit of the IAEA chief to the Zaporozhye NPP,” they said.
Moscow has repeatedly accused Ukrainian forces of attacking the nuclear plant and Energodar, while warning that the shelling could trigger a disaster that would eclipse the 1986 Chernobyl incident. Kiev insists that Russian forces are shelling the site while stationing military hardware there.