Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky met with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi on Tuesday, according to a press officer with Zelensky’s office.
The meeting came as Ukraine and Russia continue to accuse each other of shelling the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ahead of a planned visit by a delegation of the IAEA, the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog, later in the week.
Zelensky told Grossi that the IAEA’s mission in Ukraine is “urgent” and that Ukraine wants its team to do more than carry out an inspection at the plant.
Zelensky said that he hoped the delegation would “find an opportunity, thanks to our special services, thanks to the security corridors, to get to the station, and do the best to avoid all those threats on a global scale.”
“Probably, today this is one of the most [high] priority issues regarding the security of Ukraine and the world,” Zelensky said.
He blamed the Russian military for the “creation of great risks, regarding explosions, regarding the failure to work of the nuclear reactors, regarding the risks of disconnecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant units from our network, and regarding the risks of the heating season for our citizens.”
Zelensky urged the IAEA to do more than inspect the plant, saying that strategic decisions were required “regarding the urgent demilitarization of the station, the withdrawal of all, any, military personnel of the Russian Federation with explosives, with any kind of weapon.”
Zelensky insisted that the area should become a demilitarized zone and that there should be a transition of the plant to full control of the Ukrainian state.