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No Russian heavy weapons at Zaporozhye nuclear plant – IAEA boss

Europe’s largest nuclear plant was attacked by drones last week

Russia does not station heavy weapons at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi told reporters on Monday.

Moscow and Kiev have been accusing each other of shelling Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which sits close to the front line. Kiev and its Western backers have also accused Moscow of using the facility as a cover for its troops.

Grossi made his comments after a UN Security Council meeting dedicated to the renewed strikes on the plant. “There is no heavy weaponry there,” Grossi said while answering a reporter’s question during a media stakeout.

He explained that, although there are Russian “armored vehicles and some security presence at the plant,” IAEA monitors did not see any prohibited weapons, such as multiple rocket launchers, tanks and artillery.

Grossi said that the IAEA does not have the mandate to determine which side has been attacking the facility and argued that “indisputable evidence” is needed to establish who is responsible.

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EU’s Borrell warns of ‘potential nuclear disaster’ in Russia

Addressing the Security Council, Grossi confirmed that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant was struck on April 7, which was the first direct attack on the site since November 2022. Insectors have determined that the apex of the containment dome of the Unit 6 reactor building had been hit, he added. “Whilst the damage to the structure is superficial, the attack sets a very dangerous precedent of the successful targeting of the reactor containment,” Grossi stressed, warning that “these reckless attacks must cease immediately.”

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Ukrainian drone attack on nuclear plant a ‘dangerous provocation’ – Kremlin 

Russian Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told the Security Council that Ukrainian forces have been “systematically” targeting the plant and surrounding areas. He stated that the Russian army has been “spotting and intercepting up to 100 drones per week.” Moscow has never placed heavy weapons at the facility or used the plant to stage attacks on Ukraine, he said.

Officials in Kiev have denied striking the plant. “The position of Ukraine is clear and unequivocal: we are not conducting any military activities or provocations against nuclear sites,” Andrey Yusov, spokesman for Ukraine’s military intelligence, told Ukrainian TV this month. Andrey Kovalenko, the head of the state-run Center for Countering Disinformation, accused Moscow of spreading false information and “manipulating the IAEA.”

The agency said in its report this week that all of the plant’s six reactors are currently in cold shutdown. According to the plant’s management, only one reactor had been working since 2022 in order to keep the site operational. IAEA inspectors were deployed to monitor the facility in September 2022. 

April 16, 2024 at 06:17AM
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