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UN team ‘going nowhere’ after visiting Ukraine nuclear plant

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency has said that his experts will remain in place after they cross into the Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine and reach the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.

The head of the United Nations nuclear agency said his experts would remain in place after crossing into Russian-controlled territory in Ukraine and arriving at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, as both sides warned of a potential disaster.

An IAEA inspection team defied intense bombing to reach the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, arriving after a delay of several hours on Thursday in a large convoy with a heavy presence of Russian soldiers nearby.

We are not going anywhere. The International Atomic Energy Agency is now at the station and is not moving. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossi, who led the mission himself, told reporters after returning to the territory controlled by Ukraine.

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International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi led a visit to the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi led a visit to Russia’s nuclear power plant [Genya Savilov/AFP]

He said that a group of IAEA experts remained at the station and would provide an impartial, impartial and technically sound assessment of the situation.

“I am concerned, I am concerned and I will remain concerned about the plant until we have a more stable situation, which is more predictable,” he said.

In a report from Kyiv, Al Jazeera’s Theresa Bo said the IAEA team is looking forward to assessing the level of damage at the site and the conditions of the Ukrainian staff.

A few days ago, there were reports of several shells falling near the location of nuclear reactors. This is a major concern and they will have to assess what is going on on the ground.

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Ukraine and Russia accuse each other of creating the risk of a Chernobyl-like disaster by bombing near the plant, where the situation has begun to deteriorate in recent weeks. Russia captured the plant early in the more than six-month-old war.

Kyiv also accuses Russia of using the facility to protect its forces and plotting to steal its production by connecting it to the Russian electricity grid. Moscow denies this, but has so far rejected international calls to withdraw its forces from the factory.

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Video footage released by Russia’s state news agency showed IAEA inspectors, including Grossi, wearing safety helmets and seen around the site by Russian energy officials, who pointed out what was described as damaged water pipes.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow was doing everything possible to ensure that the plant was operated safely, and that inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency could complete their tasks.

Earlier, Ukraine’s state nuclear energy company Energoatom said the Russian bombing had shut down one of the two still operating reactors at the site.

As the inspectors reached the front line, Russian and Russian local officials accused Kyiv of sending troops on boats near dawn to try to capture the factory on Thursday, and bombard the nearby Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar.

Kyiv accused the Russians of masterminding the incidents to blame Ukraine and obstruct the International Atomic Energy Agency’s visit.

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Since Russia seized the plant in March, Russian forces have been under the control of Russian forces but run by Ukrainian staff.

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The plant is located on the southern bank of a huge reservoir on the Dnieper River that divides the Russian and Ukrainian forces in central southern Ukraine. Before the war, it supplied Ukraine with more than a fifth of electricity.

Both sides claimed battlefield successes in the new Ukrainian campaign to reclaim territory in the south, although details are scarce so far, with Ukrainian officials publishing little information about their progress.

Millions of people fled Ukraine, thousands were killed, and cities were reduced to rubble in what the West and Kiev call Russia’s unprovoked war of aggression.

Moscow describes its actions as a “special military operation” to rid Ukraine of nationalists and protect Russian-speaking communities.

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