The IAEA can?t openly blame Kiev for attacking the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant, the Russian president has said
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) can't openly state that the attacks on the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) are being carried out by Kiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin has said.
Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok on Wednesday, the Russian leader praised the agency as being a responsible international organization with a very professional leader, and stated that he trusts the IAEA's latest report on the ZNPP.
However, Putin noted that the agency is under pressure from the US and other Western nations, and therefore cannot directly accuse Kiev of attacking the nuclear plant.
"But this is obvious. We control the station, our servicemen are stationed there. What, are we attacking ourselves?" Putin said, calling the notion completely absurd and adding that the area around the power plant is littered with the remains of HIMARS rockets and other Western munitions.
Putin also addressed the IAEA's request that Russia remove its military equipment from the premises of the ZNPP. He insisted that there is no such equipment at the plant and explained that the only forces stationed there are the Russian National Guard, which is protecting the perimeter and the premises of the station itself.
"We can even call journalists there tomorrow, including European and American journalists, to see for themselves," Putin said, noting that it is obvious the strikes on the power plant and the city of Energodar are coming from across the reservoir where Kiev's forces are located.
Putin further explained that Russia's military equipment, which is engaged in counter-battery combat, is not located anywhere near the station and has in fact been moved quite far beyond the perimeter of the facility.
The Russian leader also expressed his bewilderment at Kiev's attempts to create a nuclear catastrophe by attacking the power plant, stating that "the Ukrainian side is creating threats to undermine nuclear security."
"Why they do this, I honestly don't really understand. Just to draw more attention to their situation and create an additional crisis?"
He also revealed that Kiev's operatives have attempted to carry out terrorist attacks on Russian territory, targeting high-voltage power lines connected to Russian nuclear power facilities. "They purposefully work in this direction. What for? What is the point of creating a nuclear threat for the whole of Europe? I do not really understand, but they are doing this."
Putin's comments come after the IAEA released a report on Tuesday regarding the state of the Russian-controlled Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The agency demanded that all attacks on the facility "be stopped immediately" and called for a cessation of any military activity within or in the vicinity of the plant. The report did not identify those responsible for shelling the plant.