The Kremlin warns of sabotage at a Russian-controlled nuclear facility in Ukraine. Wednesday’s update from the UN’s nuclear watchdog stated that there are no visible signs of mines or explosives at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine. It follows the accusation by Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, citing military intelligence, that the Kremlin may have planted explosives on the facility’s roof.
“International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts present at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) have in recent days and weeks inspected parts of the facility, including some sections of the perimeter of the large cooling pond, and have also conducted regular walkdowns across the site, so far without observing any visible indications of mines or explosives,” IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said in an update.
Grossi stated that IAEA experts have requested additional site access to corroborate the absence of mines and explosives. Specifically, “access to the rooftops of reactor units 3 and 4 is essential, as is access to portions of the turbine halls and portions of the plant’s cooling system,” he said.
Ukraine stated earlier on Wednesday that preparations have been made for a potential Russian attack on the nuclear power facility. In the meantime, the Kremlin asserted that Kiev posed “a serious threat of sabotage.”
Grossi added, “As military tensions and activities increase in the region where this major nuclear power plant is located, our experts must be able to independently confirm the facts on the ground.” “Their independent and objective reporting would help clarify the current situation at the site, which is crucial at a time like this with unconfirmed accusations and counter-allegations.”
The IAEA acknowledged that it is aware of allegations that mines and other explosives have been placed in and around the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant.
Director General Grossi stated that the IAEA team had not reported any recent bombardments or explosions and that the military presence at the site appeared unchanged, according to the nuclear watchdog’s latest update.
In an interview, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky stated that he has advocated for additional IAEA inspectors.
“We said, ‘Your team over there, they’re four individuals, and this plant is the size of a city.’… Enormous. It is very large. “Four individuals will not locate mines,” he said.
Additional information about the nuclear facility: Russia seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility at the beginning of March 2022, but Ukrainian workers continue to operate it primarily. The largest nuclear power plant in Europe is located on the front lines of the conflict, which means that shelling is common in the area and the plant has been frequently disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid, causing repeated fears of a nuclear accident.