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Putin has detailed knowledge of situation around Zaporozhye NPP, IAEA chief says

He knows every detail of it, which was surprising to me, Rafael Grossi said
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili
IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi
© AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili

WASHINGTON, November 21. /TASS/. Russian President Vladimir Putin knows every detail of what’s going on at the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Rafael Grossi, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general, told CBC in an interview aired on Sunday.

When asked if he would say that Putin was familiar with developments at the ZNPP, Grossi said, "Absolutely. He knows every detail of it, which was surprising to me." "In my conversation with him, I could see that he had a very— detailed knowledge, not only of the layout of the — of the plant, but also, and very importantly, of the electrical — access, the external power source. It is a facility that he knows— that he knows very well," he specified.

Also, when asked if IAEA experts could go anywhere at the nuclear facility, he said, "You know — yes, you know — we are the IAEA." "There were areas that — where we were limited. But all the things we needed to see we could see," he added.

Grossi said it was important to establish a safety zone around the ZNPP in order to prevent a nuclear disaster. "Until we have this plant protected, the possibility of the nuclear catastrophe is there," he emphasized. The ZNPP was under attack again, the IAEA chief added. "And this is why — we have been trying. I have been pushing — for the establishment of a protection zone [around the plant]. Which is basically don't attack the plant," Grossi said. He described the situation around the nuclear facility as "an unprecedented thing, really, in so many ways. This place is <…> so volatile and in need of an urgent action."

The IAEA’s chief visited St. Petersburg on October 11, meeting with Putin there. Earlier, he called contacts with the Russian leader extremely important from the viewpoint of ensuring the security of nuclear facilities, including the ZNPP. The director general also visited Kiev twice where he met Ukrainian leader Vladimir Zelensky.


Russia’s Defense Ministry reported that Ukrainian forces had resumed shelling of the plant after a two-month lull. In the past weekend alone, the Ukrainian military fired 25 shells at the ZNPP, with a shell hitting the roof of special building No.2 where nuclear fuel is stored, the top brass said. Russian artillery units suppressed the enemy with return fire. The background radiation near the nuclear power plant remains normal, the Russian Defense Ministry specified.

The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant, Europe’s largest, was taken under control of Russian troops on February 28, a few days after the special military operation was launched. A delegation of the International Atomic Energy Agency led by the agency’s Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled to the plant in early September. It left two observers at the facility, then published a report calling for the establishment of a safety zone around the plant to prevent accidents that could arise due to the hostilities.

The IAEA team plans to conduct an assessment of the damage from the latest attacks on Monday morning, if the situation permits, Grossi said in an interview with BFM television on Sunday.