UN Official Says Ukraine Nuclear Plant Is ‘Out of Control’

UN nuclear agency’s head has warned that a huge nuclear power plant occupied by Russian forces during the Ukraine war is “completely out of control.”

The Associated Press news agency quoted the UN’s official Rafael Grossi as saying that the Zaporizhzhia plant required an assessment, repairs, and maintenance.

“You have a catalog of things that should never be happening in any nuclear facility,” he stated.

Ukraine’s nuclear plants have been a subject of concern since Russia launched an offensive against its neighboring country. Several international atomic energy agencies have reported that the largest nuclear reactor in Europe is dangerously close to the conflict area.

Russia seized the plant amid continuous shelling of buildings in March, sparking local protests and international criticism. It is reportedly operational with Ukrainian personnel, but Russian agents control the area.

According to Ukrainian officials, Russian forces are sending troops and putting military equipment on the grounds of the power plant located on the southern Dnipro River.

In addition, the US Secretary of State Antony Blinken accused the Kremlin of invading the plant to use it as a military base to launch attacks against Ukrainian soldiers.

However, Yevgeny Balitsky, a Russian-installed official in the region, said Ukrainian forces were using weapons supplied by Western countries to attack the nuclear power plant.

Mr. Balitsky said Russian officials were ready to show the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), led by Mr. Grossi, that they protected the nuclear plant from Ukrainian attacks.

Speaking at a press conference at the UN headquarters in New York, Mr. Grossi commented: “The situation is very fragile. Every principle of nuclear safety has been violated one way or the other and we cannot allow that to continue.”

The IAEA’s director general also revealed he planned to organize a mission to visit the nuclear facility as soon as possible. However, he needs the UN’s authorization and the approval of Ukraine and Russia.

Mr. Grossi said: “I’m pleading to both sides to let this mission proceed,” asking for cooperation from both countries. Earlier, Ukraine said the IAEA visit would legitimize the Russian presence in the region.