UN can facilitate IAEA visit to power plant if Russia, Ukraine agree

NEW YORK: The United Nations has the logistics and security capacity to support a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant if both Russia and Ukraine agree, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday (Aug 15).

“The UN Secretariat has no authority to block or cancel any IAEA activities,” Dujarric added.

Dujarric was responding to an accusation by Russia that UN security had blocked a visit by IAEA inspectors to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which Russia seized in March following its invasion of Ukraine on Feb 24.

He said that “in close contact with the IAEA, the UN Secretariat has assessed that it has in Ukraine the logistics and security capacity to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv.”

But he said both Russia and Ukraine have to agree. Both countries have said they want IAEA inspectors to visit. IAEA chief Rafael Grossi has said he was ready to lead a mission and called on Russia and Ukraine to cooperate.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for an end to military activity around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex as Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for shelling of the area.

Guterres spoke with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu on Monday about the conditions for the safe operations of the Zaporizhzhia, the United Nations and Russia said.