Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky met with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi on Tuesday, according to a press officer in Zelensky’s office.
The meeting came as Ukraine and Russia continue to accuse each other of bombing the area around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant ahead of a scheduled visit by a delegation from the IAEA, the US nuclear watchdog. United Nations later in the week.
Zelensky told Grossi that the IAEA’s mission to Ukraine is “urgent” and that Ukraine wants its team to do more than inspect the plant.
Zelensky said he hoped the delegation would “find an opportunity, through our special services, through the security corridors, to get to the station and do our best to avoid all these threats on a global scale.”
“Probably, today 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, concerning explosions, concerning the shutdown of nuclear reactors, concerning the risks of disconnecting the units of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from our network, and concerning the risks of the heating season for our fellow citizens.”
Zelensky urged the IAEA to do more than inspect the plant, saying strategic decisions were needed “regarding the urgent demilitarization of the station, the withdrawal of all military personnel from the Russian Federation with explosives, with all type of weapon”.
Zelensky insisted that the area become a demilitarized zone and that there should be a transition from the factory to full Ukrainian state control.