International tension over the risk of a nuclear accident in Zaporizhia 2:10
Ukraine's Foreign Ministry issued a statement Sunday accusing Russia of interfering with the work of International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) experts at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, which it is currently occupied by Russian forces.
The UN watchdog said earlier this month that it has been unable to rotate its team of experts present at the plant in southern Ukraine due to "increased military activity".
The IAEA warns: the person responsible for the "powerful explosions" at the Zaporizhia nuclear plant is "playing with fire"
Since September, the teams of experts have each spent a month at the plant and then exchanged with another team.
To do so, they must cross the front line into Ukrainian-controlled territory, the IAEA said.
The organization deemed it too dangerous for them to do so this month, calling the area surrounding the plant "volatile" and a "combat zone."
In Ukraine's statement on Sunday, the Foreign Ministry said that the Russian Army continues to surround the area with military equipment and soldiers.
Ukraine accused Russia of violating the norms of international law and undermining nuclear and radiological safety at the plant.
"If Russia is not stopped, its criminal actions at the Ukrainian nuclear facility could lead to a catastrophe, the scale of which is not yet known to Europe," the Foreign Ministry said.
In addition, he called on the Moscow authorities "to immediately unlock the rotation of IAEA experts and ensure their instant and safe movement through the temporarily occupied territories of Ukraine to the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant."
Putin surprised Rafael Grossi with his knowledge of the nuclear industry 1:29
Concern over a nuclear accident
IAEA Director Rafael Grossi held talks with senior Russian officials in Moscow earlier this month.
According to the IAEA, the talks were part of long-running efforts to "agree on and implement a much-needed nuclear safety buffer zone around Ukraine's Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP)."
The IAEA calls for a "safety zone" to avoid a nuclear accident at the Russian-occupied plant in Ukraine
Zaporizhia, with six reactors, is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe.
The area and the nuclear complex have been under Russian control since the start of the war.
Grossi and other nuclear experts are concerned about the threat of a nuclear accident amid shelling around the plant.
Grossi assured Ukraine that the IAEA will never recognize Russia as the owner of the Zaporizhia plant, according to Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal.
Grossi also promised a continued IAEA presence at all Ukrainian nuclear plants.
War in UkraineIAEA