IAEA team expected to arrive at nuclear plant Thursday, says Russian-backed local official

UN nuclear experts en route to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant are expected to arrive on Thursday morning, a local official appointed by Moscow told Russian state television.

The team from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) set off from Kyiv early Wednesday.

“Initially, according to their information, we are expecting them tomorrow morning,” Alexander Volga, head of the administration of the nearby Russian-occupied city of Enerhodar, told Channel One on Wednesday, in comments reported by state news agency TASS.

The plant is near the front line of the war in Ukraine and was captured by Russian troops in March. Both sides have accused each other of shelling it.

It is uncertain how long the IAEA visit will last. Another official, Yevgeniy Balitsky, who heads the Russian-backed regional administration of Zaporizhzhia, suggested the visit would last just one day.

But earlier on Wednesday, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told reporters: “We are going to be spending a few days there.” Meanwhile, Volga said his administration was ready to provide the team with accommodation in Enerhodar if necessary.

On Monday, Russia’s permanent representative to the international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov told state news agency RIA Novosti that Grossi hopes to station IAEA officials at the plant.

“As we understand, the intention of the director general [Grossi] is to keep a few people at the station on a full-time basis,” Ulyanov said.

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