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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Putin: Ukraine Threatens Nuclear Security by Shelling Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant

Sputnik News

Svetlana Ekimenko

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report on Tuesday on the security situation at the massive Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, summarizing "preliminary nuclear safety and security findings" from an expert mission.

Ukraine repeatedly threatens nuclear security by shelling the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, Russian President Vladimir Putin has warned.

Commenting on the United Nations nuclear energy watchdog's recent report on the security situation around the NPP, Putin told journalists on Wednesday that he "absolutely" trusted it, but added:

"The IAEA is a responsible international organization, and its leader is a very professional person. Of course, they are under pressure from the countries where they work, including the United States, European countries, and cannot directly say that shelling comes from Ukrainian territory. But these are obvious things," Putin said at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF).

According to Vladimir Putin, Russian military equipment is deployed outside of the ZNPP perimeter and there is nothing that the IAEA experts have urged to remove. The Russian President said he had instructed Rosatom to submit additional proposals to enhance the safety of the Zaporozhye NPP, where the main danger is not the reactors, but spent nuclear fuel storage facilities.

The IAEA sent a high-level delegation of experts to the largest nuclear power plant in Europe last week. Amid the ongoing special operation, the Russian military has held the facility and its six reactors since March. Moscow and local authorities have repeatedly accused the Ukrainian military of attacking the plant throughout the past months, threatening to ignite a nuclear catastrophe.

'Nuclear Terrorism' Concerns

The 52-page document published by the IAEA summarized "preliminary nuclear safety and security findings" from thge latest mission to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant and missions to the Chernobyl NPP from earlier this year. It outlined "seven pillars" for nuclear safety, mentioning shelling attacks on the ZNPP 52 times, but failed to state who is responsible.

The document voiced the IAEA's "concern" with the impact that shelling may have had on "safety-related structures, systems and components," and cited agency director Rafael Grossi's remarks following his return from last Thursday's inspection, saying that "while past events had not yet triggered a nuclear emergency, they represented a constant threat to nuclear safety and security because critical safety functions (containment of the radioactivity and cooling in particular) could be impacted."

Moscow, which earlier accused the Kiev regime of trying to sabotage the mission by engaging in "nuclear terrorism" by repeatedly attacking and shelling the facility with mortars, drones, and artillery, has deplored the fact that the West continues to put pressure on the IAEA.

"The fact that the West has been putting pressure [on the IAEA] all the time, and does not stop, is obvious," Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Wednesday, commenting on the agency's report.

The report of the IAEA mission does not contain data on the source of the shelling of the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, although everything necessary to obtain information on the situation at the plant was done, Zakharova said on Wednesday.

"They [IAEA experts] are 100% sure that there will not be a single argument in favor of the fact that this [ZNPP shelling] was done by the Russians, so there is a story that there is no data about who could do it," Zakharova added.

Ambassador to the United Nations Vasily Nebenzia said on Tuesday that Russia regrets the international watchdog failed to name the source of shelling at the plant. he added that lack of data on the shelling of the ZNPP can only be explained by the IAEA mission not wanting to see the source of the shelling.

© Sputnik

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