Moscow accuses the IAEA of yielding to the West, and Ukraine demands Russia's withdrawal from the Zaporozhye plant

Moscow accuses the IAEA of yielding to the West, and Ukraine demands Russia’s withdrawal from the Zaporozhye plant

Reactions follow to the report of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which demanded the establishment of a nuclear security zone around the Zaporozhye plant, as Russia demanded further clarifications, while Ukraine demanded Russia’s withdrawal from the plant first.

Russian President Vladimir Putin expressed confidence in the agency’s report, but said that the report declined to say that Ukraine had bombed the station because of what he called US pressure on agency officials and inspectors.

The spokeswoman for the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, announced that everything required had been submitted to obtain information about the situation at the station, but the report of the agency’s mission did not contain any data on who was responsible for the bombing of the station.

Zakharova indicated that it seems that agency officials do not want to see this, as she put it.

“It is clear that the West has always exerted pressure (on the agency), and it does not stop doing this,” the Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman added.

In statements to Interfax, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that the report contained question marks, and that Moscow had requested clarifications from the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in its report that the bombing operations at the site and its surroundings should stop to avoid any new damage to the plant.

The IAEA report called for an agreement by all parties concerned to establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone.

Security Council

During a session of the UN Security Council on the situation at the Zaporozhye nuclear plant, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, stressed the need to stop all military actions near the nuclear plant.

In turn, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres expressed his grave concern about the situation at the plant and called for the establishment of a demilitarized zone in and around the plant to avoid a nuclear disaster.

On the other hand, the Russian delegate to the UN Security Council considered that the only threats to the Zaporozhye station are caused by what he described as Ukrainian sabotage.

The Russian delegate denounced what he considered the IAEA’s reluctance to hold Ukraine responsible for the bombing of the nuclear plant.

As for Washington, it called on Moscow to withdraw its forces from the Zaporozhye plant immediately, and the deputy US representative to the Security Council said that every day that Russia controls the station increases the risk of a nuclear accident.

Ukrainian fears

On the other hand, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky welcomed the IAEA’s report, describing it as good.

Zelensky called for ending the presence of Russian troops at the Zaporozhye nuclear plant first before discussing the creation of a demilitarized zone.

As for the head of the Ukrainian Agency for Nuclear Security Oleg Kurikov, said at a press conference that in the event of damage to the reactor core, there will be consequences not only for Ukraine but also beyond the borders.

He added that this plant, located in the south of the country, which is currently disconnected from the electricity grid, may become in a situation where its security systems are supplied with backup diesel power, and continued, “But in wartime it is very difficult to refill the diesel reserves.”

“It is possible that we will find ourselves facing a shortage of diesel, which could lead to an accident that damages the reactor core and thus releases radioactive materials into the environment,” the same official said.

Alexei Likhachev, director of the Russian atomic agency, Rosatom, said that Moscow would do “everything possible to ensure the safe operation of the plant in exclusive contact with the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

This station has been bombed several times in recent weeks, raising fears of a dangerous nuclear accident, while Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other in this regard.

Military Developments

On the other hand, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that its forces had full control of the city of Kodima in the Donetsk region, noting also that two Ukrainian MiG-29s had been shot down in Kherson and Sukhoi-25 in Mykolaiv.

The battles between the Russian and Ukrainian armies continued on various axes and fronts, and various types of land and air weapons were used. The confrontations intensified on the southern front, with the Ukrainian army continuing its counterattacks in the Kherson region on the positions of the Russian forces.

On the Eastern Front, the Ukrainian General Staff said that its forces repelled Russian attacks in the Bakhmut region of Donetsk region, while the cities of Kramatorsk and Kharkiv were bombed by the Russians.

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