IAEA mission heads to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant near war frontline

Date:

  • UN watchdog visits reactor complex in Ukraine this week
  • IAEA bureau chief Grossi leads mission
  • Russian attacks kill eight civilians in Donetsk governor

KYIV, Aug. 29 (Reuters) – A team from the UN nuclear watchdog went to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant on Monday, the agency’s chief said, as Russia and Ukraine exchanged allegations of shelling in the area, raising fears of a radiation disaster. fueled.

Taken by Russian forces in March but led by Ukrainian personnel, Zaporizhzhya has been a hot spot in a conflict that has escalated into a war of attrition mostly in eastern and southern Ukraine six months after Russia launched its invasion.

“We must protect the safety and security of Ukraine’s and Europe’s largest nuclear facility,” Rafael Grossi, director-general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said in a tweet. read more

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An IAEA team he led will reach the plant on the Dnipro River near the front lines in southern Ukraine later this week, Grossi said, without specifying the day of their expected arrival.

The IAEA separately tweeted that the mission would assess physical damage, evaluate the conditions in which plant personnel work and “determine the functionality of safety and security systems.” It would also “perform urgent security checks,” a reference to nuclear material tracking.

The United Nations and Ukraine have called for the withdrawal of military equipment and personnel from the nuclear complex, the largest in Europe, to ensure it does not become a target. read more

The two sides have spent days exchanging accusations that their attacks have set off disaster.

Fearing a nuclear accident in a country still haunted by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986, Zaporizhzhya authorities are handing out iodine tablets and teaching residents how to use them in the event of a radiation leak.

‘BLACKMAIL’

Russian troops fired on Enerhodar, the city where the plant is located, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s chief of staff said on his Telegram channel late Sunday alongside a video of firefighters putting out burning cars.

“They provoke and try to blackmail the world,” Andriy Yermak said.

The Ukrainian army previously reported shelling of nine more towns across the Dnipro River.

The Russian Defense Ministry reported more Ukrainian shelling at the factory last weekend. Nine shells fired by Ukrainian artillery landed on the factory site, Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Igor Konashenkov said.

“Currently, full-time technical personnel monitor the technical condition of the nuclear power plant and ensure its operation. The radiation situation in the nuclear power plant area remains normal,” he said in a statement.

The Russian state news agency quoted authorities as saying they shot down a Ukrainian drone that was planning to attack the nuclear waste storage facility at the plant.

Two of the plant’s reactors were cut off from the grid due to shelling last week. read more

Ukraine’s state-owned nuclear company Energoatom said it had no new information about attacks on the plant and Reuters was unable to verify the accounts.

The US State Department said on Sunday that Russia would not recognize the serious radiological risk at the plant and had blocked a draft nuclear non-proliferation agreement because it cited such a risk. read more

‘ANSWER TO ATTACKS’

In the Donetsk region of eastern Ukraine, Russian forces shelled military and civilian infrastructure near Bakhmut, Shumy, Yakovlivka, Zaytsevo and Kodema, the Ukrainian army said early Monday.

Russian attacks killed eight civilians in Donetsk province on Sunday, Governor Pavlo Kyrylenko said.

Russia denies targeting civilians.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy vowed in a video address late Sunday that “the occupiers will feel their consequences – in the further actions of our defenders”.

“No terrorist will be left without an answer to attacks on our cities. Zaporizhia, Orykhiv, Kharkiv, Donbas – they will all have an answer,” he added.

Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24 in what it called a “special military operation” to demilitarize its southern neighbor. Ukraine, which gained independence when the Russian-dominated Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, and its Western allies have dismissed this as an unfounded pretext for a war of conquest.

The invasion of Ukraine has sparked Europe’s most devastating conflict since World War II.

Thousands of people have died, millions have been displaced and cities have been destroyed. The war has also threatened the world economy with an energy and food supply crisis.

The regional governor has said Russian shelling has displaced more civilians in the east, where three-quarters of the population has fled the frontline of the Donetsk province, which is part of the wider Donbas region.

The United States and its allies have imposed sweeping sanctions on Russia for its invasion and have sent billions of dollars in security aid to the Ukrainian government.

Russia has said that sanctions will never change its stance and that Western arms transfers are only dragging on the conflict.

Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba will travel to Sweden and the Czech Republic this week and push for more sanctions against Russia, including an EU-wide visa ban on Russians.

European Union foreign ministers meeting this week are unlikely to unanimously support a visa ban on all Russians, the EU’s foreign policy chief told Austria’s ORF TV. read more

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Reporting by Max Hunder and Pavel Polityuk in Kiev and Reuters offices; Writing by Himani Sarkar and Gareth Jones; Editing by Robert Birsel and Mark Heinrich

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voicehttp://thevalleyvoice.org
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.

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