L’Ukraine opposes the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi going to the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia (South) as long as it is occupied by the Russians, indicated Tuesday the Ukrainian operator of nuclear power plants. “Ukraine has not invited Rafael Grossi to visit the Zaporizhia power plant and has refused him in the past to make such a visit. Visiting the plant will only become possible when Ukraine regains control over the site,” the Ukrainian operator Energoatom wrote on Telegram on Tuesday.
Rafael Grossi wrote on Twitter on Monday that the IAEA was preparing an expert mission to the Zaporizhia power plant, the largest in Europe and occupied by Russian forces since the start of the Russian invasion, assuring that Ukraine had “asked for it”. “IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi is lying again,” denounced Energoatom. “We consider this declaration as a new attempt to gain access to the Zaporijia power plant to legitimize the presence of the occupants there and approve their actions”, continues Energoatom. “The loss of communication” between the IAEA and the plant is due to the fact that the Russians blocked the Ukrainian mobile operator Vodafone on the site, according to Energoatom. “The data accumulates on the servers and will be transmitted to the IAEA when the operator is operational again”, adds Energoatom.
The city of Zaporizhia still under Ukrainian control
Russia threatened on May 19 to cut Ukraine off from its nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia unless kyiv paid Moscow for the electricity produced. This statement joins that of other Russian officials in recent weeks who have suggested that Russia is preparing a long-term occupation, even annexation, of the areas of southern Ukraine it controls, the Kherson region and part of that of Zaporizhia. In 2021, i.e. before the Russian offensive against Ukraine launched on February 24, the plant supplied 20% of Ukraine’s annual electricity production and 47% of that produced by the Ukrainian nuclear fleet.
Moscow forces took control in early March of this plant located in the city of Energodar, in southern Ukraine, separated by the Dnieper river from the regional capital Zaporijia, which is still under Ukrainian control.