Lviv, Ukraine, Sep 2 (EFE).- Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has criticized International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi for not demanding the demilitarization of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant during his visit on Thursday.
In a speech published late night on his website, Zelenskyy recalled that the IAEA held a long-awaited inspection at the plant – the largest in Europe and occupied by Russia since Mar. 4.
Shelling in the area, which Kyiv and Moscow blame each other for, has sparked fears of a nuclear disaster.
“The key thing that should happen is the demilitarization of the territory of the plant. This is exactly the goal of Ukrainian and international efforts,” he said.
“It is bad that we have not yet heard the appropriate calls from the IAEA. Although we talked about it with mister Grossi at our meeting in Kyiv. This was the key – the key – security point of our agreements. It was clearly stated: demilitarization and full control by Ukrainian nuclear specialists.”
Zelenskyy also complained that other conditions that he agreed with Grossi in the meeting prior to the visit to the plant had not been fulfilled, such as independent journalists accompanying the 14-strong IAEA team at the plant.
“When we met with mister Grossi and members of the mission in Kyiv, we agreed that the mission would be accompanied by journalists from Ukrainian and international media. Independent journalists. For the world to see the truth. To see what is really happening,” explained the president.
“Unfortunately, this wasn’t done, although it was promised. Unfortunately, the occupiers did not let the journalists in, but organized a bunch of their propagandists. Unfortunately, the IAEA representatives did not protect the representatives of independent media.”
However, Zelenskyy said he is “hopeful that the mission will nevertheless draw objective conclusions from the circumstances at the plant.”
“For more than three decades, five facilities have been under the control of our specialists – the Chernobyl plant and four operational nuclear power plants. The IAEA never had any claims regarding the activities of any of these facilities until Russia invaded our territory and brought its madness here,” he said.
“It is good that the IAEA representatives have an opportunity to draw objective conclusions about the risks that have arisen at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for the first time in history. Moreover, the risks that have arisen precisely because of the occupiers.”
The constant shelling, the presence of Russian soldiers and weapons at the plant, the mistreatment of Ukrainian personnel and the attempts to put the plant under the control of representatives of the Russian state-owned company Rosatom “who are not at all capable of a responsible attitude towards such an object… These are the reasons for the risks,” he stressed.
“When the Russian military finally leave the territory of the Zaporizhzhia NPP, when they take away their weapons, ammunition, when they stop shelling Enerhodar and neighboring areas and cease their provocations, the Zaporizhzhia plant will be able to return to a completely safe functioning, which has always been the case under the control of Ukraine.”
Grossi on Thursday decided to establish a “continued presence” at the plant and leave several inspectors from his team there, at least until Saturday.
He left the plant after a “few hours” and said he had seen “the key things I needed to see” and his team was able to gather “a lot of information.”
The experts who inspected the facilities were accompanied by representatives of Rosatom and plant employees, according to the official Russian news agency RIA Novosti. EFE