Russia warns against moving IAEA inspectors to Ukraine

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Russia warns against moving IAEA inspectors to Ukraine

A Russian diplomat said that routing any mission through Ukraine's capital was too dangerous and 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.

Stephane Dujarric, UN spokesman, said on Monday that the UN SecretariatUN Secretariat has no authority to block or cancel any IAEA activities. 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 its invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

He said that the UN SecretariatUN Secretariat has the logistics and security capacity in Ukraine to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Kyiv, and both Russia and Ukraine have to agree. Both countries want IAEA inspectors to visit. The IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said he was ready to lead a mission and called for Russia and Ukraine to cooperate.

A senior diplomat told Russian news agencies in Moscow that no such mission could pass through Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital, as proposed by the United Nations.

Imagine what it means to pass through Kyiv - it means they get to the nuclear plant through the front line, according to Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy head of the foreign ministry's nuclear proliferation and arms control department.

He stated that this is a huge risk, given that Ukraine's armed forces are not all made up in the same way.

Russia calls its actions in Ukraine a special military operation and accuses Kyiv's military and political structures as being beholden to nationalists and Nazis, as a result of the demilitarisation of the plant, as it could only deal with fulfillment of the IAEA guarantees UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres said on Thursday that Moscow and Kyiv blamed each other for shelling the area.

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