In Ukraine, the IAEA team on its way to the Zaporizhia power plant

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images KYIV, UKRAINE- AUGUST 31: Personnel from the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations prepare to depart for Zaporizhzhia from a hotel in Kyiv, Ukraine on August 31, 2022. The delegation will travel to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant amidst the Russia-Ukraine War. (Photo by David Ryder/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

Anadolu Agency / Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) delegation is on its way to the Zaporijjia power plant on August 31, 2022.

WAR IN UKRAINE – After months of waiting, an inspection team from the International Atomic Energy Agency was (finally) on its way this Wednesday morning, August 31, to the Zaporijjia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Ukraine, the target of bombardments for several weeks.

“We are finally moving after several months (…) of effort. IAEA goes inside the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant »the director of the UN agency, Rafael Grossi, told reporters in kyiv, just before leaving.

Zaporizhia nuclear power plant
AFP Zaporizhia nuclear power plant


Zaporizhia nuclear power plant

The plant, the largest in Europe, has been occupied by the Russian army since the beginning of March, after the invasion of Ukraine launched on February 24. kyiv has accused Moscow of deploying hundreds of troops there and stockpiling ammunition there. Ukrainians are on site to take care of the maintenance.

A team of 13 experts arrived in Kyiv on Monday

“I am fully aware of the importance of this moment but we are ready. The IAEA is ready. We will report back after our mission. We are going to spend a few days there”added Rafael Grossi who leads a team of 13 people.

Their goal is to find out what is really going on within the walls of Zapporijjia, information being extremely limited on the consequences of successive strikes. The team “will assess the physical damage, check the operation of the safety and emergency systems, assess the working conditions of the workers”, said a statement released on Monday. It will also ensure that nuclear activities and materials are only used for “peaceful ends”.

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky received on Tuesday the IAEA experts, who arrived in kyiv on Monday, saying on this occasion that the international community should obtain from Russia “immediate demilitarization” from power stations.

This, he added, involves “the departure of all the Russian soldiers with all their explosives, all their weapons” from this site in southern Ukraine. “Unfortunately Russia does not stop its provocations, precisely in the directions by which the mission must arrive at the plant”lamented Volodymyr Zelensky, adding that the situation was “extremely threatening”. “The risk of a nuclear catastrophe due to Russia’s actions does not diminish, even for an hour”he said.

Counteroffensive in Kharkiv

Russia and Ukraine accuse each other of being responsible for the attacks near the plant. “As a result of periodic bombardments, the plant’s infrastructure has been damaged and there are risks of hydrogen leakage and spraying of radioactive substances”, alerted the Ukrainian nuclear energy production company EnergoAtom on Telegram on Saturday August 27. In its press release, the IAEA indicated that “the system was still operational” despite the attacks and that there was “no increase in radiation levels”.

Oleksandre Staroukh, the regional governor, had spoken in this regard a few hours earlier of missile fire on the city of Zaporijjia. The Zaporijjia power plant, one of the four nuclear power plants operating in Ukraine, has six reactors with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts each. Last week, it was briefly disconnected from the power grid for the first time in its history, after power lines were damaged.

For its part, the Ukrainian army is continuing its counter-offensive in the south, where intense fighting has been reported. “Fighting is currently taking place practically on the entire front line: in the south, in the Kharkiv region (north-east) and in Donbass (east)”President Zelensky said on Tuesday evening.

In Bereznehuvate, a locality 70 km north of Kherson, a southern city taken by the Russians at the start of the war, AFP witnessed a constant passage of Ukrainian armor, while numerous artillery fire echoed in the streets. surroundings.

Some soldiers were on their way to the front, like this small group waiting for their T74 tank, whose engine was overheating, to be repaired. “We got them down”boasted Victor, an infantryman in his sixties without wanting to say more.

Gazprom has suspended gas exports to France

The Ukrainian presidency reported on Tuesday “powerful explosions” in the Kherson region as well as the destruction of“a number of ammunition depots” Russians and “all major bridges” which allow vehicles to cross the Dnieper, the river that waters this part of Ukraine. And this in order to cut off supplies from Crimea.

Russia, for its part, assured on Monday that it had postponed “offensive attempts” Ukrainians in the region of Kherson as well as in that of Mykolaiv, further west. “Due to the failure of the Ukrainian offensive (…), the enemy suffered heavy losses”i.e. 1,200 men ” in one day “, as well as dozens of military vehicles, the Russian Defense Ministry said on Tuesday. This information was unverifiable from independent sources.

The Russian bombardments have also not ceased on the front line which extends from north to south. In the center of Kharkiv (northeast), Ukraine’s second city, at least five people died in Russian strikes, local authorities said on Tuesday. And others left two dead and 24 injured in Mykolaiv.

In this context, the Ministers of Defense of the Member States of the European Union agreed on Tuesday, during an informal meeting in Prague, to start the preparatory work for a plan for the training of Ukrainian soldiers by the EU.

In another war waged in parallel, that of gas, a further step was taken on Tuesday towards the drying up of flows from Russia to France with the announcement by Gazprom of the total suspension from Thursday of its deliveries to the Engie group, officially for an unpaid.

See also also on The Huffpost: Footage From Inside Ukraine’s Attacked Nuclear Power Plant

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