Putin Hails ‘Constructive Cooperation’ with IAEA on Ukraine Nuclear Plant


Russian President Vladimir Putin hailed “constructive cooperation” with the UN’s nuclear watchdog over Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant on Wednesday.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspected the plant in early September following repeated bombardment.

The Kremlin said that in a phone call with UN chief Antonio Guterres, “Vladimir Putin made a positive assessment of the constructive cooperation with the agency”.

Kyiv and Moscow have shown “signs that they are interested” in creating a security zone around Europe’s largest nuclear plant in Ukraine threatened by shelling since Russia invaded its neighbour, the UN atomic watchdog said Monday.

Shelling around the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia power plant in southern Ukraine has raised fears of a nuclear disaster.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which has two experts at the plant since a mission there early this month, has urged fighting around the facility to stop.

“What we need here really is Ukraine and Russia to agree on a very simple principle of not attacking or not shelling the plant,” IAEA director general Rafael Grossi told reporters.

“Basically it’s a commitment that no military action will include or will imply aiming of course at the plant or a radius that could be affecting its normal operation. This is what we expect.”

He added both Kyiv and Moscow were “engaging” with the agency on the issue and asking “lots of questions”.

“I have seen signs that they are interested in this agreement,” Grossi said after he opened the Vienna-based agency’s regular 35-member Board of Governors meeting.

Kyiv insists Russian forces must withdraw from the plant, but Grossi said “areas that have to do with larger demilitarisation or movements of troops, none of that is part of my mandate”.

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