“Wherever you stay, wherever you stand, whatever you think about this war, this is something that cannot happen, and this is why we’re trying to put in place certain mechanisms and the presence of our people there, to try to be in a better place.”
Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi was speaking on Thursday after he and IAEA experts visited Europe’s largest nuclear plant, which has seen repeated shelling in recent weeks, sparking fears of a catastrophe.
“It’s obvious that the plant, and the physical integrity of the plant has been violated, several times. [Whether] by chance [or deliberately], we don’t have the elements to assess that. But this is a reality that we have to recognize, and this is something that cannot continue to happen,” he told journalists.
Renewed shelling last week hit the area of the plant’s two so-called special buildings, located about 100 metres from the reactor buildings, as well as an overpass area.
An IAEA expert mission finally arrived there on Thursday, following months of diplomatic negotiations.
Maintaining a presence
“My team is staying on,” he said, adding “most importantly, we are establishing a continued presence from the IAEA here.”
In a video posted on his official Twitter account that day, Mr. Grossi reported that the experts had completed an initial tour of the plant, though there is still more to do.
The Zaporizhzhia plant houses six of the 15 nuclear reactors in Ukraine.
It has been occupied by Russian forces since the early weeks of the war in Ukraine, now in its seventh month.