G7 demands unimpeded access for IAEA at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia plant

G7 industrialized powers on Monday demanded unimpeded access for the UN atomic watchdog’s staff heading to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant in Ukraine, which has been the target of strikes in recent weeks.

International Atomic Energy Agency staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine in a timely and safe manner and “without impediment”, said the G7 Non-Proliferation Directors Group in a statement.

Personnel from the IAEA should also be allowed to “engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for operating these facilities”, they added.

Russian armed forces’ continued control of the plant posed a “serious threat” to the “safety and security of these facilities”, they said.

“These actions significantly raise the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endanger the population of Ukraine, neighboring states, and the international community,” they warned.

The atomic plant should not be used for military activities or the storage of military material, said the group.

The UN atomic watchdog’s mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant will be the agency’s hardest to date, Ukraine Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba warned Monday.

“This mission will be the hardest in the history of the IAEA, given the active combat activities undertaken by the Russian federation on the ground and also the very blatant way that Russia is trying to legitimize its presence”, Kuleba said during a visit to Stockholm, Sweden.

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