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IAEA head insists on nuclear safety and security protection zone around ZNPP

KYIV. Jan 24 (Interfax-Ukraine) – The situation around the Zaporizhia NPP remains tense, it is necessary to ensure the safety of this nuclear facility from hostilities, IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi has said.

"This is once we established our permanent presence there (at the nuclear power plant), This is what let me to propose the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant, which is… simply establishing an area, which like a bubble that should be excluded from military action," Grossi said on Tuesday at hearings of the Committee on Foreign Affairs (AFET) and the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament.

"The principle being: don’t shoot at the plant or very important for Ukraine: don’t use the plant to place military equipment to attack the other side," the head of the IAEA said.

According to him, this has been discussed for some time. Grossi added that he is often asked why it is so difficult and long to solve the issue of protecting nuclear power plants. "The issue here is that every issue, every proposal, every that is envisaged has to be or is looked through the prism of the military activities and respective objectives that each one has," Grossi continued, noting that one has to not just discuss technical aspects, but the military, diplomats, and politicians are involved in this.

Answering questions from the European deputies, the IAEA Director General found it necessary to explain that he did not mean the "demilitarized zone" in its purest form. He said that that the demilitarized zone is a more ambitious goal. There are military forces everywhere. Thousands of soldiers and heavy weapons on both sides. The demilitarized zone is different, and it probably requires wider negotiations, Grossi said.

In this case, according to the head of the IAEA, it is about refraining from military actions directed by the power plant and against it.

The conditions of such a zone also require that the Russian side does not place ammunition and heavy weapons at the power plant, he said.

And to secure such a zone, a political decision is needed, all the technical aspects are more or less discussed, Grossi said.