Lavrov confirms Russia’s intention to cooperate with IAEA over ZNPP
Russia's Foreign Minister and the IAEA chief discuss the situation in ZNPP on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met Wednesday with Rafael Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and confirmed Moscow’s intention to continue close cooperation with the Agency in order to force Kiev to immediately cease shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant.
"During the conversation, an exchange of opinions on the security issues of nuclear facilities in Ukraine was held, including the situation around the Zaporozhye NPP (ZNPP)," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The Ministry mentioned that "Lavrov confirmed the intention of the Russian side to continue close cooperation with the IAEA in order to force the Kiev regime to immediately cease the bombings of the aforementioned power plant and its adjacent territories, including the city of Energodar where the staff of the ZNPP and their families reside."
I have begun consultations in earnest on the Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone (NSSPZ) at #Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in #Ukraine. Productive and professional exchange with 🇷🇺 Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on this issue. pic.twitter.com/yeh7mEWrLv— Rafael MarianoGrossi (@rafaelmgrossi) September 21, 2022
According to Russian news agency TASS, "The meeting between the Russian top diplomat and the IAEA chief took place on the sidelines of the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA)."
IAEA politicizing ZNPP crisis: Russia nuclear chief
It is noteworthy that last week, the IAEA's Board of Governors passed on a resolution demanding Moscow to "immediately cease all actions against, and at, the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant."
The IAEA board called on Russia to withdraw its forces from the ZNPP without making any mention of the systematic Ukrainian shelling of the nuclear power plant.
The accusations from the West come as Russia stresses that Kiev is behind the attacks on the nuclear facility that has been under its control since March.
Earlier that day, the Russian Permanent Mission to International Organizations in Vienna said that "Western countries voted through the IAEA Board of Governors to drag an anti-Russian resolution on the Ukrainian issue."
"They know full well what is happening there and where [attacks] are coming from… They definitely share this information online with [the headquarters in] Vienna and a political component is added at some stage," Rosatom chief Alexey Likhachev said in an interview that aired Sunday.
On September 1, the IAEA sent a 14-person team to the site, including its Director General 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.
On September 7, the IAEA issued a report in light of the attacks launched by Kiev's forces on the ZNPP, in which it called for the immediate establishment of a protective zone at its premises and vicinities.
Russia's Ambassador to the United Nations, Vassily Nebenzia, had said that Russia regretted that the IAEA did not name the source of the shelling at the ZNPP, while Grossi said that he was negotiating a safe zone around the ZNPP in southern Ukraine.
Grossi's statement came after Russian President Vladimir Putin warned his French counterpart during a phone call over the potential "catastrophic consequences" of Ukrainian attacks on the ZNPP in a Russian-controlled area of Ukraine.
The situation at ZNPP remained "precarious" after the shelling damaged the nuclear site’s vital infrastructure, Grossi said.
Read more: Zaporozhye NPP has been restored, connected Ukrainian grid