IAEA visit to Zaporozhye NPP via Kiev 'very dangerous': Moscow
Crossing into the nuclear plant through Kiev will put the IAEA at risk given that the Ukrainian armed forces will be ready to commit any provocation, argues the Russian foreign ministry.
A trip by an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) delegation to the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (NPP) through Kiev and then across the contact line will be very dangerous, asserted Igor Vishnevetsky, the Deputy Director of the Department for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control at the Russian Foreign Ministry on Monday.
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"Across the front line - that is a huge risk, given that the Ukrainian armed forces are heterogeneous armed formations. These people will be ready to commit any provocation," he said regarding a statement UN Secretary-General Stefane Dujarric gave, saying that the world organization could facilitate such a visit via Kiev.
"In this case, anything could happen if the IAEA delegation went across the front line," he said, adding that Russia put forward a safe route for the inspectors' trip to the plant.
"When it concerned the previous visit, which was disrupted, Russia proposed a route that would ensure the safety of the IAEA inspectors," he said. "In this case the Russian side can provide complete security, our military will fully provide it. Ukraine will not provide anything," he added.
"Therefore, this proposal [on a trip through Kiev and the territory controlled by Ukraine] raises not only questions, but bewilderment," the diplomat concluded.
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Commenting on statements made in Kiev that the purpose of the inspectors' visit is the demilitarization of the NPP, Vishnevetsky argued "The IAEA is not engaged in demilitarization and security. It has a clear mandate, which is the implementation of IAEA guarantees," adding "This is just an irresponsible statement."
"The IAEA comes with an inspection of the facilities, checks whether the obligations are fulfilled or not, that is, whether nuclear material is used at the plant for peaceful purposes," Vishnevetsky went on.
"This is the goal and mandate of the IAEA. If the inspection pays attention to any interference in the operation of the plant, of course, it will describe this in its reports, it will be discussed. Everything else is not the responsibility of the agency," he concluded.
Last Thursday, Russia accused the office of the United Nations Secretary-General of obstructing the work of IAEA experts and preventing them from visiting the Zaporozhye NPP in eastern Ukraine.
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Russian forces have had complete control over the nuclear plant since March, but drone attacks by Ukrainian forces have regularly targeted the facility, leading Russia to request help from the IAEA to address security issues.
The Ukrainian military shelled the Zaporozhye NPP on August 7, targeting the spent nuclear fuel repository. At the time, the Kiev regime launched a 220mm Uragan rocket with a cluster munition.
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On July 12, two Ukrainian drones attacked a building close to the Zaporozhye NPP, according to a spokesperson for the military-civilian administration in Enerhodar.
According to the military-civilian administration at Nova Kakhovka, the Ukrainian strike carried out on the city was executed using multiple rocket launchers HIMARS (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System) supplied by the United States.
Such incidents have triggered fears of a possible nuclear catastrophe and were the subject of an emergency meeting of the UN Security Council last Thursday.