ER Editor: There are 3 reports below about Ukraine launching some sort of military action around Zaporozhyia nuclear plant ahead of the UN’s IEAE inspection, which arrived some time later. The inspection is to last up to Saturday.
The head of the IAEA at the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. Plus a horde of domestic and foreign journalists.
He must be feeling like a rock star… pic.twitter.com/1e2B1wNNip
— AZ 🛰🌏🌍🌎 (@AZmilitary1) September 1, 2022
Ukraine launches raid near Zaporozhye nuclear plant – Russia
Two commando groups landed nearby while amphibious teams were intercepted en route, Moscow has said
Ukraine deployed troops from several directions in an apparent attempt to capture the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant on Thursday morning, the Russian Defense Ministry has announced.
In one incident, two separate “sabotage groups” with a total strength of up to 60 troops used seven speedboats to cross the Kakhovka Reservoir and land about three kilometers from the nuclear facility to the northeast early in the morning, according to the claim.
The Ukrainian commandos were presumably hoping to capture the station from the Russian troops who are guarding it, but were blocked, the ministry indicted. The Russian military deployed attack helicopters to support the plant’s guards, it added.
A separate engagement took place about an hour later to the west of Energodar, which hosts the power plant, Moscow explained. Russian forces attacked and sank two watercraft that were carrying Ukrainian amphibious tactical teams, the statement said.
The ministry also claimed that about two hours after the landing of the commando units, Ukrainian artillery began shelling a specific location near Energodar. Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who are on their way to visit the facility, are scheduled to pass by the area, according to the report.
“The provocation of the Kiev regime is aimed at derailing the arrival of the IAEA mission to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant,” the ministry said.
The plant and the city have been under Russian control since March. In August, the nuclear site was targeted by regular artillery and drone attacks, which Moscow and Kiev blamed on each other. Ukrainian officials also claimed that the Russian military was using the plant as a military base, stationing heavy weapons there. Moscow denied the accusations, stating that it only had lightly armed guards defending the facility.
The IAEA mission was dispatched this week after several delays. Moscow and Kiev both welcomed the visit and pledged to facilitate it, while each accused the other side of attempting to prevent inspectors from reaching the target.
The UN’s nuclear watchdog is expected to assess the situation on the ground, inspect the safety of the power plant, and verify that non-proliferation measures remain in place. The Zaporozhye facility is the largest of its kind in Europe and stores dozens of tons of enriched uranium and plutonium in its reactor cores and storage facilities, according to IAEA figures.
Energoatom, the Ukrainian nuclear operator, claimed on Thursday that Russia launched mortar strikes at the plant, causing the shutdown of one of its two currently operating reactors. Russian-allied local authorities also reported the shutdown, citing unconfirmed reports, but said it was Ukraine that attacked the facility. The plant is staffed by Ukrainian civilian workers despite being under Russian control.
UN team arrives at Zaporozhye nuclear power plant
IAEA inspectors have reached the facility in Ukraine amid an escalation in fighting
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors have reached the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in southern Ukraine amid reports of renewed shelling and combat.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti published a video of the convoy with UN experts arriving at Europe’s largest nuclear facility on Thursday.
The visit comes hours after the Russian Defense Ministry accused Kiev of dispatching commandos in an attempt to seize the plant. According to Russian officials, the attack has been repelled.
Russian troops took control of the facility shortly after Moscow launched its military operation in the neighboring country. As the plant continued to operate with local staff, Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of firing shells and missiles dangerously close to its reactors.
International experts led by IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Grossi are planning to assess the situation on the ground and examine the damage done to the plant.
The IAEA will leave its representatives at the Zaporozhye NPP after the departure of the mission
Specialists collected a lot of important information at the station
The head of the IAEA , Rafael Grossi , said that the mission managed to collect a lot of important information in a few hours of work at the Zaporozhye NPP. After the departure, the organization will leave its representatives at the station.
Grossi said that he noticed “key things” at the ZNPP that he wanted to see. He also did not rule out that the experts of his mission would meet with the residents of Energodar.
The IAEA specialists were accompanied to the Zaporizhzhya NPP by Russians – they showed one of the shells fired at the nuclear power plant. The delegation and ZNPP staff also discussed the integrity of the containers in which nuclear waste is stored.
IAEA inspectors plan to stay at ZNPP until September 3. They will get acquainted with the working hall of the station, and then they will visit the reactors.
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