Russia questions UN nuclear report calling for demilitarised zone at Zaporizhzhia

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov claims there are 'a number of issues' as Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomes findings

The UN Security Council has been working to resolve the ongoing situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Photo: Spencer Platt / Getty Images / AFP
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Russian officials have requested "clarifications" from the UN nuclear watchdog over its report on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the International Atomic Energy Agency report, released on Tuesday, contains “a number of issues”.

“I will not list them but we requested these clarifications from the IAEA director general", Mr Lavrov told Interfax on Wednesday.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy welcomed the report in his daily address to the nation on Tuesday, saying if it was aimed at demilitarising "the territory of the nuclear power plant ... then we can support it".

"The report notes the presence of Russian military hardware on the territory of the nuclear power plant, pressure on our employees there, and makes clear references to the Russian military occupation,” Mr Zelenskyy said.

“It's good," he added.

Volodymyr Zelenskyy delivers a message at the New York Stock Exchange before the ringing of the opening bell on Tuesday. Photo: Michael M Santiago / Getty Images / AFP

The agency's report called for a demilitarised zone to be set up outside the plant, which has come under shelling in recent weeks.

Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for the attacks, which have raised fears of an accident at Europe's largest nuclear power station.

Russia's ambassador to the UN Vasily Nebenzya said on Tuesday Moscow "regrets" that the report did not blame Kyiv for shelling the plant, which Russian forces have occupied since March.

Mr Lavrov's spokeswoman Maria Zakharova blamed the West for "obviously" putting "pressure" on the UN agency, according to RIA Novosti news agency.

Last week, a 14-strong team from the UN nuclear watchdog visited Zaporizhzhia, with the body's chief Rafael Grossi saying the site had been damaged in fighting.

At least two members of the team will remain on a permanent basis to ensure the facility's safety.

Alexei Likhachev, the head of Russia's state nuclear energy agency Rosatom, said on Wednesday that Moscow would work with the agency to help maintain safe operations at the plant.

Updated: September 07, 2022, 10:31 AM
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