The United Nations nuclear watchdog will inspect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which Russia holds, this week. After months of negotiations, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) tried to gain access to this facility. However, Ukrainian staff continues to operate it under orders from Russian forces. This situation, the IAEA stated, threatens Europe’s most powerful nuclear plant.
Rafael Grossi, the chief of IAEA, will lead the mission to assess any damage caused by recent shelling around the plant. Both Russia and Ukraine blame each other for this incident. He and the agency did not specify when they would arrive in Zaporizhzhia.
The Energy Ministry of Ukraine said it will not comment on the IAEA mission “for security reasons.”
Separately, the IAEA tweeted that the mission would evaluate physical damage and assess the conditions in which workers are operating at the plant. It also “determines the functionality of safety and security systems.” It will perform “urgent safeguards activities,” which refers to tracking nuclear material.
Officials claim that Russian forces have attacked Ukrainian towns along the banks of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant. However, Russia’s defense ministry said more Ukrainian shelling was reported at the plant this weekend.
Reports of shelling at the facility fueled fears of a radiation catastrophe.
According to Igor Konashenkov, a spokesperson for the Russian Defense Ministry, nine shells from the Ukrainian artillery hit the grounds of the plant.
“At the moment, full-time technical staff are monitoring the technical state of the nuclear power plant and ensuring that it operates.” He stated that the radiation situation at the nuclear power station “remains normal.”
According to the UK’s Ministry of Defense, it is unclear how Russia will achieve an announced significant increase in its Armed Forces. However, this boost is unlikely to increase its combat power in Ukraine significantly.
Last week, President Vladimir Putin signed an order to increase Russia’s armed forces from 1.9 million to 2.04 million. This was as the war entered its seventh month.
In a regular update on the war, the UK ministry stated that it wasn’t clear if this could be accomplished by increasing conscription or recruiting more volunteers.
It would have no impact on the war in Ukraine, as Russia has lost tens of thousands of troops. There are also very few new contract servicemen being recruited. Conscripts are technically not required to serve in Russian territory.
At a meeting in Prague this Wednesday, European Union defense and foreign ministers will discuss the possibility of establishing a military training mission to assist Ukrainian forces.
Josep Borrell stated last week that the EU must look into what other options it has to support Ukraine and increase Russia’s costs of war.
However, EU foreign ministers will not unanimously support a ban on visas for all Russians at their next meeting, Borrell, the EU’s foreign policy chief, stated.
According to Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden, Europe could experience several winters without gas due to Russian supply cuts.
Van Beurden stated, “It could be that there will be several winters where it is necessary to find solutions.”
According to the TASS news agency, a Russian-installed official in Ukraine said that authorities would ensure safety for the IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
This week, the IAEA team will visit the plant occupied by Russian troops but still managed by Ukrainian staff. According to TASS, the Russian-backed authorities in the area said Monday that they were not informed of the details of the visit.
The Group of Seven’s Non-Proliferation Director’s Group welcomed a visit by the UN nuclear watchdog to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant. It also reiterated its concerns about the safety of this plant under Russian military control.
It stated that “we reaffirm the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, and the electricity it produces, rightly belong to Ukraine, and that Russia’s attempts to disconnect it from the Ukrainian power grid was unacceptable.”
According to the RIA Novosti news agency, a top Russian diplomat said that Moscow is open to the IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia’s power station.
Mikhail Ulyanov is Russia’s permanent representative at the international organizations in Vienna. He said that Russia had made a significant contribution during the visit, which was announced by the IAEA this week.
Dmytro Kuleba, the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, has asked Russia to abandon Europe’s largest nuclear power plant at Zaporizhzhia.
Kuleba, speaking in Stockholm, stated that Russian forces leaving the facility would be “the only means to ensure nuclear security at this power plant.”
Russian media reported that Russia’s defense ministry stated that its forces had shot down a Ukrainian drone trying to strike the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.
According to the defense ministry, there was no radiation and no damage. The defense ministry stated that the drone was shot down close to the nuclear waste enclosure at the facility.
In recent weeks, both Russia and Ukraine denied shelling Zaporizhzhia’s plant. However, each side accuses the other.
According to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Ukrainian President, Russia is trying to stop European countries from filling enough gas storage to cope with the winter ahead, speaking at an oil and gas conference held in Norway