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Rosatom chief says Ukraine shells ZNPP to provoke Russian return fire

Alexey Likhachev added that the IAEA should not only monitor safety at the plant, but also participate in providing information about attacks on ZNPP

KALININGRAD, May 28. /TASS/. Reckless actions of Ukrainian forces are the biggest threat to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, as they are trying to provoke Russian troops to return fire, Rosatom head Alexey Likhachev said following a discussion with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi.

"The real threat is the thoughtless, completely reckless actions of Kiev forces, which are trying to provoke, intimidate people, and prompt our armed forces to return fire. We always defend the view that there should be no armed strikes either at the station or from its territory. And the main task of all the armed forces and civilians present at the Zaporozhye NPP is make absolutely, unconditionally sure that it is safe," Likhachev said.

The Rosatom chief said the IAEA should not only monitor safety at the plant, but also participate in providing information about attacks on ZNPP.

"We would very much like the IAEA not only to assist us in implementing all of Rafael Grossi's safety principles, but also to be a fair channel for communicating to the entire world community the real threats to the Zaporozhye NPP," he said.

Safety risks at the ZNPP

Ukrainian forces make regular attempts to make shelling and drone attacks on the ZNPP and the surrounding area. Likhachev has repeatedly drawn attention to the risk of an accident at the plant as a result of these attacks and notified the IAEA about the situation. The international agency conceded the attacks take place and agree they raise the risk of a nuclear accident, but it didn’t name the perpetrators of the attacks.

Since the start of April, the situation in the area of ZNPP and Energodar has worsened. Ukrainian drones are occasionally spotted in the sky, prompting air raid alerts. Several times Ukrainian troops struck the plant and the city. At about 4 p.m. on May 27 Ukrainian forces opened random artillery fire on Energodar. As a result of five strikes, two employees of the Teplovodokanal utility service were wounded, and some of the company’s buildings and three cars suffered damage. IAEA experts started working at the ZNPP on September 1, 2022 - after the first visit of IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to the plant. The mission had the 19th rotation of its four experts on May 16.