IAEA mission could still play a role, says Zelensky

CERNOBBIO (Reuters): The International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant could still be important despite the difficulties met due to Russian presence at the site, Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky said on Friday.

“We did everything to ensure that IAEA would get access to the Zaporizhzhia plant and I believe that this mission may still have a role to play,” Zelensky said in a video streamed at The European House, Ambrosetti Forum meeting in northern Italy.

Ukraine’s state nuclear company earlier on Friday said that the IAEA mission had not been allowed to enter the plant’s crisis center, where Ukraine says Russian troops are stationed, and would struggle to make an impartial assessment of the situation.

“Unfortunately we haven’t heard the main thing from the IAEA which is the call from Russia to demilitarize the station,” Zelensky said.

“I hope the mission will comply with what we’ve agreed and that it will serve the interests of the entire international community.”

Zelensky said ensuring the Zaporizhzhia plant returns to operate safely and remains connected to the country’s power grid would help Ukraine to act to counter Europe’s energy crisis.

“Ukraine is ready to increase electricity exports to EU countries,” he said.