UN can facilitate IAEA visit to power plant if Russia, Ukraine agree
The United Nations has the logistics and security capabilities to support a visit by International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors to Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant if both Russia and Ukraine agree, UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Monday.
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 after invading Ukraine on Feb. 24.
"The UN Secretariat has no authority to block or cancel any IAEA activities," Dujarric told reporters.
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Thursday called for military activity around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power complex to end as Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for the shelling of the area.
Dujarric 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.
At the same time, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said that the world will lose to terrorism and give in to nuclear blackmail if it takes no action to prevent an accident at the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station.
"If now the world lacks the strength and determination to protect one nuclear plant, it means that the world is losing," Zelenskiy said in his nightly video message.
Russia took over the station, Europe's largest nuclear facility, soon after invading Ukraine in February in what Moscow calls a "special military operation."