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Ukraine accuses Russia of ‘distorting’ facts as IAEA mission wraps up first day of nuclear plant inspections
A mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) examined the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant’s emergency systems, its diesel generators, and the shields around its power units, IAEA and delegation leader Director General Rafael Grossi reported on Friday. According to Grossi, the “physical integrity” of the plant has been violated multiple times, but it wasn’t clear whether the damage was intentional or accidental.
The Ukrainian state energy company Enerhoatom accused Russia of giving the IAEA team a distorted view of both operations at the facility and the situation in the city of Enerhodar, where the plant is located. On Telegram, Enerhoatom wrote that Russia:
- stationed military vehicles in engine rooms and presented them to the IAEA mission as equipment belonging to Chemical Protection Troops.
- did not allow IAEA delegates to enter the part of the NPP where troops are stationed.
- “presented” to the delegation a group of Enerhodar residents who had been instructed in advance to say that the city was shelled by Ukrainian forces.
- shut off Internet and phone service in Enerhodar to prevent people from sharing photos and videos of the city and the nuclear plant.
According to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, Russian forces refused to allow Ukrainian and other international journalists into the plant along with the IAEA delegates. Vladimir Rogov, the head of the collaborationist administration in the Zaporizhzhia region, claimed in response that the journalists were “spies and saboteurs.”
Two IAEA officials will remain at the Zaporizhzhia NPP on a permanent basis, a Russian official told RIA Novosti. Six others will reportedly stay for several more days.
The Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was captured by Russian troops in March. The Russian Defense Ministry has frequently accused Ukraine of shelling the facility, while Ukrainian officials have called the attacks “provocations” by Russian forces. The IAEA mission marks the first time international officials have been allowed to enter the plant since the war began.
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