Deal on ZNPP safety zone possible by end of year: IAEA chief
According to the IAEA Director General, an agreement should exist on the basic principles for protecting ZNPP.
Head of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi, upon discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Ukrainian President Zelenskyy, stated that he believes that an agreement regarding a secure and safe zone surrounding Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) "is possible" to be reached by the end of the year.
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Grossi told reporters, "I believe this is possible. We had a very good dialogue with [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin and with Ukrainian President Zelensky," adding that "an agreement should exist on the basic principles for protecting the NPP. This is possible. We need to continue to work."
However, Grossi's statements came shortly after a statement made by the Russian Deputy Representative on Disarmament at the UN First Committee, Konstantin Vorontsov, that Russia absolutely does not consider the possibility of demilitarizing the Zaparozhye nuclear power plant, as well as surrounding areas, due to the facility's need for protection. "We completely rule out the so-called demilitarization of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and the area around it," Vorontsov said, explaining that this would "lead to a decrease in its protection and an increase in the threat of terrorist acts."
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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on September 6 for the establishment of a security zone around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP) following an offensive by Kiev.
ZNPP has been under Russian control since early March and had operated without interruption. However, since July, drone attacks and shelling by Ukrainian forces regularly targeted the facility, leading Russia to request assistance from the IAEA to address security issues.
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Ukraine admitted shelling the vicinity of the ZNNP last August. "Targeted strikes by our troops in the localities of Energodar and Kherson have destroyed three artillery systems of the enemy as well as an ammunition depot," the Ukrainian army said.
On September 1, the UN agency sent a 14-person team to the site, including Rafael Grossi, to assess the situation at the plant. At least two members of the team were to remain there on a permanent basis to ensure the facility's safety.
Following the visit, the IAEA confirmed that the facility was indeed targeted and recommended that "the shelling on site and in its vicinity should be stopped immediately to avoid any further damages to the plant and associated facilities."
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