The president said this in his address to the participants in the annual international economic Ambrosetti Forum.
“With the help of our partners, we ensured that the IAEA mission was sent to the plant - just yesterday the mission was there. We agreed with the head of the IAEA, Mr. Grossi, the members of the mission, when I met with them, that they would help with the key issue - the key issue of the safety of the nuclear power plant, the key issue is the demilitarization of the plant. Because this is key to protecting all of us, all Europeans, from a radiation disaster,” he said.
According to the president, it was agreed that independent journalists from Ukrainian and international media would arrive at the territory of Zaporizhzhia NPP. However, the Russian military stopped the journalists traveling with the mission at a checkpoint and did not let them go any further.
“Obviously, the occupiers felt that in the presence of a free media it would be impossible to lie to the IAEA and the whole world. Free media scares Russia. And this says everything at once - if you do not allow independent journalists to the plant, it means you are definitely aware of your responsibility for the catastrophe that the plant is on the verge of, and you are afraid that the world will draw conclusions about your responsibility,” Zelensky said.
In addition, according to Zelensky, the IAEA has not yet called on the Russian Federation to demilitarize the nuclear plant.
“I really hope that the mission will adhere to what the parties have agreed upon and what is in the interests of the entire international community. The greatest risk of a radiation disaster in 40 years must be removed. It is impossible to leave the military of the terrorist state at the nuclear power plant. There are situations when the fate of everyone on the continent depends on keeping one's word. This is exactly the situation now,” he said.
He reminded that the Russian army seized the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant back in March 2022 and still holds it captive. There is video confirmation. Over the months after that, the situation has not changed - shelling and provocations take place every day.
“Under the cover of a nuclear plant, the Russian army is shelling neighboring cities and districts - this was the strategy. The occupiers are also shelling the plant itself - to put pressure on Ukraine and on all of you in Europe and on the world. The whole world. They want you to show weakness, to give up and stop supporting Ukraine. This is why Russia is doing this radiation blackmail,” Zelensky said.
As reported, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission led by Director General Rafael Grossi arrived in Ukraine and visited the Russian-captured Zaporizhzhia NPP on September 1.
Five representatives of the IAEA mission remained at the ZNPP.
The ZNNP, the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, has been captured by the Russian military since March 4. Since then the invaders have places military equipment and ammunition in the territory of the nuclear plant, as well as have been shelling the surrounding area.
The United Nations, the United States, and Ukraine called on the Russian Federation to withdraw military equipment and personnel from the nuclear facility.