Ukraine nuclear plant inspectors arrive despite fighting

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But Russia’s defense ministry accused Kiev of trying to disrupt the IAEA visit and said it was ready to accept the mission “with the assurance of complete security for further work”.

The situation in the area of ​​the Zaporizhzhya plant “is complex”, the ministry added, but remains under “complete control”.

It previously said Ukrainian forces had launched a remarkable mission to regain control of the factory and disrupt the arrival of IAEA inspectors.

The ministry said a Ukrainian “sabotage group” consisting of up to 60 soldiers crossed the Dnieper River, dividing the two sides, landing on the coast within 2 miles of the plant. It said measures were taken to destroy the group, including the use of military helicopters. State news agency Ria later reported, citing local Russian-installed officials, that Russian forces had taken three alleged saboteurs into custody.

Earlier Thursday, the head of the UN mission promised to continue despite renewed reports of fighting.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said the team was aware of “increased military activity in the area” but went ahead with its plan to visit the facility and meet with its staff, Reuters reported.

“Now that we’ve come this far, we’re not stopping,” he said.

The team of inspectors arrived in Zaporizhzhya on Wednesday, after traveling to the capital Kiev earlier this week.

Grossi said the inspectors would spend “several days” at the power plant, before reporting to an increasingly alarmed international community, although Russian officials have suggested the team may only have a day to inspect the plant.

The UN Atomic Energy Agency has been warning of the risk of nuclear disaster for months and has long sought to send a team to inspect and help ensure the safety of the plant.

The IAEA chief announced the much-anticipated mission earlier this week, saying the team planned to assess the physical damage to the plant, determine how well the safety systems are working and conduct any urgent safety activities. The team also plans to talk to Ukrainian workers who operate the factory, some of whom have reported being tortured by Russian troops occupying the site.

Kiev and Moscow have blamed each other for shelling around the nuclear complex, and last week the plant was disconnected from Ukraine’s national electricity grid for the first time in its 40-year history.

Meanwhile, the head of the International Committee of the Red Cross warned on Thursday that little can be done to respond in the event of a major accident at the plant.

“In the event of a nuclear leak, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to provide humanitarian aid,” Robert Mardini told a news conference during a visit to Ukraine, Reuters reported. “This is why the fighting has to stop.”

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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