IAEA says it could visit Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in days

A Russian serviceman on guard at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, in May 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

VIENNA (REUTERS) - The UN nuclear watchdog will visit the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine within days if talks to gain access succeed, it said in a statement on Tuesday (Aug 23).

Russia and Ukraine have repeatedly accused each other of firing at the Zaporizhzhia facility, which pro-Moscow forces took over soon after the Feb 24 invasion.

The United Nations has called for the area to be demilitarised.

"I'm continuing to consult very actively and intensively with all parties," International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi said in a statement.

"The mission (to Zaporizhzhia) is expected to take place within the next few days if ongoing negotiations succeed."

Russia's foreign ministry said Moscow had given the go-ahead for a mission on June 3 and blamed Kyiv for trying to disrupt the promised inspection.

"We express our deep regret that the mission has not yet taken place," spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement.

Remote video URL

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.