LAST UPDATE: 17.37
The International Atomic Energy Agency is “very, very close” to gaining access to the Russian-held Zaporizhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine, Europe’s largest, its head Raphael Grossi told France 24 TV today.
Asked if talks to gain access to the station were successful, in which case Grossi has said the IAEA will be there within days, he said: “We are very, very close to that.”
Ukrainian personnel still operate the factory but the site has been controlled by Russian forces since March, shortly after the Russian invasion of the country began on February 24.
One side blames the other for bombing the site, raising international concern about a possible nuclear accident.
The leadership of Russia’s State Duma Council, the lower house of parliament, issued a statement today saying it confirmed Moscow’s readiness to facilitate an IAEA mission “so the agency’s experts can determine on the ground that there are threats as a result of the ongoing of Ukrainian attacks on the nuclear power plant, with tragic consequences for all humanity”.
Ukraine says Russia is increasing the risk of a disaster by using the plant as a shield from which to direct attacks into the surrounding area.
French President Emmanuel Macron in talks with IAEA chief Raphael Grossi expressed his country’s support for a visit by IAEA experts to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, the Elysee announced today.
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