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Kiev and UN Suggest ‘Dangerous’ IAEA Mission to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant, Say Russian Diplomats

Aug. 16, 2022 (EIRNS)—A mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine is apparently still up in the air. Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna, told Rossiya 24 yesterday that Russia, whose armed forces control the Zaporizhzhia area, is ready to support an IAEA visit to the plant, but the Kiev regime may still throw up insurmountable obstacles. “I think the IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia NPP will be worked out in the near future. This is not an easy process, especially since Ukraine and its Western patrons put forward a number of preconditions, which may prove insurmountable in the end,” he said, reported TASS. “The most important thing for Russia is to ensure the absolute safety of the international mission,” Ulyanov stressed. “It is absolutely impossible to do this in conditions of continued shelling,” he said. “Therefore, first of all, the Western countries should urge Kiev to stop this outrage, and the Kiev side should cooperate with the IAEA in paving the way for this visit.” UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres did speak by phone with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, according to the Russian Ministry of Defense.

Guterres’ spokesman Stéphane Dujarric outlined yesterday the arrangements for the IAEA mission with Kiev: “In close contact with the IAEA, the UN Secretariat has assessed that Ukraine has the logistics and security capacity to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kiev, should both Russia and Ukraine agree,” he said.

At the UN Security Council on Aug. 11, Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia spoke at length after IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, detailing Russia’s support for the mission.

Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Director for Non-Proliferation and Arms Control Igor Vishnevetsky told reporters Aug. 15 that the proposal expressed by Dujarric for the IAEA to go from Kiev across the front line the plant was very dangerous: “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. In this case, anything could happen if the IAEA delegation went across the front line.” He recalled: “When it concerned the previous [June] visit, which was disrupted, Russia proposed a route that would ensure the safety of the IAEA inspectors. In this case the Russian side can provide complete security, our military will fully provide it. Ukraine will not provide anything. Therefore, this proposal,” of a trip through Kiev and the territory controlled by Ukraine, “raises not only questions, but bewilderment,” reported TASS.

In another dispatch TASS quoted Vishnevetsky saying Aug. 16: “Even if, theoretically, Zelenskyy says he guarantees [the mission’s security], he cannot control his armed units and cannot exclude incidents. He cannot guarantee that all the mines will be cleared along the frontline.” Moreover, raised the question: “The mission is to be escorted by a military convoy while crossing the frontline. Will it be a Ukrainian mission? Are we supposed to let Ukrainian military enter the territory we control? ... Such an initiative is very questionable.”

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova cut to the chase on Aug. 15: “We strongly call on Washington, Brussels and other capitals, first of all, European ones, to drop their irresponsible games and intrigues around the Zaporizhzhia NPP and immediately push Kiev authorities to stop attacks on the station and adjacent territories,” TASS quoted her as saying. “Further connivance of Ukraine’s Western sponsors is a crime, including against their own citizens. These people, like people in Russia and Ukraine, will be exposed to incredible risks if Ukrainian nationalists don’t stop their attacks.”

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