UN denies Russia’s claims of possible blocking of experts’ trip to Zaporiyia

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The United Nations (UN) on Monday denied Russian accusations that they are blocking the visit of nuclear experts to the now Russian-occupied Zaporiyia nuclear plant in southern Ukraine.

General Secretariat spokesman Stephane Dujarric said that it is “not true” that the UN has delayed the trip. Thus, he has added that his agency has no authority to block the actions of the International Atomic Energy Organization (IAEA).

“I want to clarify a few points (about Ukraine). First, the IAEA is a specialized organization that acts with complete independence in decisions on how to carry out a given action,” he has asserted before adding that the UN “has no authority to block or cancel the IAEA’s activities,” Dujarric has explained.

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The UN has also assessed that the logistical and security capacity exists to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant. However, the spokesman has qualified that this would happen as long as there is an agreement on the part of both Ukrainian and Russian authorities.

Moreover, Dujarric has expressed that the IAEA’s intention is to carry out this mission “as quickly as possible.” “It is their mandate and they are in the lead,” he has assured. However, he has reiterated that the agreement between Russia and Ukraine is necessary. “For obvious reasons known to us, the plant is currently on Russian territory,” he pointed out.

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Moscow and Kiev have been accusing each other for days of launching attacks against the plant and the vicinity amid warnings launched by the IAEA director, Rafael Mariano Grossi, theoretically responsible for undertaking this observation and monitoring mission that the UN General Secretariat, according to Moscow, has avoided approving for the moment for security reasons and itinerary problems.

“The IAEA has asked for help in organizing a mission, but the UN has been somewhat aloof on this issue,” lamented Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s permanent representative to International Organizations in Vienna, the usual epicenter of nuclear talks between world powers.

“We worked very closely with the organization in May or July and prepared the visit, but the UN Secretariat blocked it at the last moment without explaining the reasons,” said the diplomat, who considered the constant fighting in the area as a major stumbling block.

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