According to Mikhail Ulyanov, the Russian representative in Vienna, where the IAEA is based, a delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency may be able to visit the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in early September.
Ulyanov said during an online briefing on Friday: “It is too early to say anything about the details, these are all extremely sensitive issues, we are discussing and will continue to discuss the modalities of the mission, the route, the number of people involved. are, how long they stay on the station, for what tasks they are sent there.”
“When the mission can take place — predictions don’t always come true, but I feel like we can talk pretty realistically about the first days of September, unless some external factors unrelated to the goals come back,” Ulyanov said.
Ulyanov said the organization of the mission is currently being discussed with the IAEA secretariat.
“Almost every day I communicate with the director-general of the bureau, Rafael Grossi … On Monday, he will appear here in Vienna, and the work in this direction will intensify,” Ulyanov said.
The Russian and Ukrainian sides disagree on the arrangements for such a visit. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Thursday that an IAEA mission would have to travel alone through territory not occupied by Russia.
About the status of the plant, Ulyanov said: “So far there are no serious consequences, but, as the IAEA director general rightly said a week ago at an extraordinary meeting of the UN Security Council, this could end badly at any moment. ‘ said Ulyanov.
He said the situation at the factory was “extremely alarming. What the Ukrainian military is doing in shelling this nuclear facility is completely unacceptable,” he said.
Ukraine has denied shelling the area, accusing Russia of doing so as a provocation. Some facilities at the factory have been damaged.
Ulyanov said he did not think the IAEA would support Ukraine’s demand to create a demilitarized zone around the factory.
“I don’t think the IAEA will support it, and for one simple reason: the creation of demilitarized zones has nothing to do with the IAEA’s mandate,” he said.
Russian officials have rejected the idea of demilitarizing the factory, saying it must be protected.
Amid a steady stream of accusations from both sides, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Friday Ukraine’s recklessness was responsible for creating “a threat to the largest nuclear facility in Europe with potential risks to huge area, not only adjacent to this factory, but far beyond the Ukrainian borders.”
“Our air defense systems in the region have been strengthened, we are taking all measures to ensure the safety of the station,” Ryabkov said, according to the Russian state news agency TASS.
Ryabkov said the presence of the Russian military guarding the nuclear power plant was a guarantee that such a Chernobyl scenario would not be realized.