26th Mar 2023

UN inspectors poised to visit Ukraine nuclear plant

  • President Volodymyr Zelensky said a Ukrainian worker and his driver were killed by mortar strikes outside the Zaporizhzhia plant (Photo: Al Jazeera screengrab)
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UN nuclear inspectors are hoping to soon visit Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia plant, as tensions mount ahead of Independence Day celebrations on Wednesday (24 August).

"The mission is expected to take place within the next few days if ongoing negotiations succeed," Rafael Mariano Grossi, who oversees the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said on Tuesday.

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Grossi also said they had been informed by Ukraine's government that infrastructure at the site had been damaged due to shelling over the past three days.

"These incidents show why the IAEA must be able to send a mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant very soon," he said.

Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky on Tuesday also said that a Ukrainian worker and his driver were killed by mortar strikes outside the Zaporizhzhia plant.

The deaths further underscore fears that Russia will sharply increase its war campaign against Ukraine on the day Kyiv celebrates its independence from its former Soviet-era masters some 31 years ago.

The day also marks six months since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, which has created a refugee exodus of over 6.6 million Ukrainians and killed thousands of civilians.

The US state department has also told all US citizens to leave the country, following intelligence that Russia aims to launch strikes against Ukraine's civilian infrastructure and government facilities in the coming days.

The warning comes as the US is set to announce another $3bn [€3bn] towards Ukraine's war effort against Russian occupying forces, officials told the Associated Press.

Germany has also said it will send Ukraine in 2023 more than €500m in weapons, including Iris-T air defence systems.

France, Germany, UK and US discuss Ukraine nuclear plant

The leaders of the United States, Germany, France and the UK held a conference call on Sunday, where they discussed Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, amid an evacuation of some 1,000 nearby residents.

UN chief demands access to nuclear plant after new attack

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Monday for international inspectors to be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of Europe's largest atomic plant over the weekend.

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Several EU foreign ministers welcomed the International Criminal Court's decision to issue an arrest warrant for Russian president Vladimir Putin, but it is unlikely to influence negotiations about a special tribunal on the crime of agression.

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