The Russian Foreign Ministry appears to have dealt a blow to proposals by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to create a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which has been occupied by Russian forces since March.
“There can be no talk of any withdrawal of the Zaporizhzhia NPP from Russian control or transfer of control over it to some ‘third party,'” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said when asked by a Russian news agency about the status of the plant. “The station is located on Russian territory and is fully controlled by Russia. We presume that only we are able to ensure the physical and nuclear safety of ZNPP.”
There has been no response from the UN nuclear watchdog to the latest word from Moscow.
Last week, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said he hoped to reach an agreement with Russia and Ukraine on protecting the plant by the end of the year.