This week, Ukrainian president Volodymyr Zelensky’s worst nightmare came true. UN investigators finally arrived at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant. The International Atomic Energy Agency investigators aim to assess the damage inflicted by Russia during recent clashes with Ukraine. However, it was a herculean task for them to reach the facility.
Unusually, as per Russian allegations, Ukraine tried to ‘abduct’ IAEA officials from the nuclear plant. However, Russia took steps to ensure that the officials investigate the facility without worrying about their security. According to a report from Caliber.az, United Nations (UN) has thanked Russia for protecting the lives of IAEA investigators.
Now, let’s start from the beginning. After the arrival of IAEA investigators near Zaporizhia, Ukraine tried every trick in the book to stop them from entering the nuclear plant. A Ukrainian checkpoint purposely caused a delay in the investigation, which was being headed by IAEA director Rafael Grossi.
The team ultimately found its way to the Russian-controlled Enerhodar city of Zaporizhzhia Oblast after getting delayed for hours. The team spent several hours touring the facility. This was when Ukraine pressed the panic button.
According to the Russian defence ministry, Ukrainian artillery targeted the city of Energodar and the Zaporizhzhia NPP, immediately after the arrival of the Investigators.
Furthermore, a group of Ukrainian commandos also crossed the Kakhovka Reservoir by boat and attempted to storm the facility. Reportedly, their goal was to seize the Russian-held power plant and use the IAEA staff as “human shields” to maintain control over the facility.
The Russian military took cognizance of the matter and ensured that Ukrainian attempts to seize Zaporizhzhia fall flat. Russian media reported that the Russian guards wiped out the Ukrainian commandoes and took the visiting officials to a safe chamber.
Ukraine blocks the IAEA
After this episode, the UN praised Russia for guaranteeing the safety of officials during the investigation. The chief spokesman of the UN, Stephane Dujarric expressed his gratitude for Russia.
The spokesman stressed, “the UN is glad for Russia’s efforts to safeguard the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team that came to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (NPP).”
The UN spokesperson added, “We are glad that the Russian Federation did what it needed to do to keep our inspectors safe.”
A successful mission for Russia
In the early days of the Ukraine war, Russia had gained control of the Enerhodar city and Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant.
In June, heavy shelling on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was reported for the first time. That shelling on the nuclear plant damaged three radiation sensors and disrupted the plant’s regular operations as several workers got wounded.
Ukraine wanted Russia out of Zaporizhzhia at any cost. Hence, Zelensky tried throwing Russia under the bus by declaring it responsible for the shelling. Zelensky, in one of his nationwide addresses, propagated that Russia was waging “nuclear terror” by attacking the nuclear plant.
However, Putin shattered this childish attempt quite effortlessly. Russia called for an IAEA visit to Zaporizhzhia which was immediately backed by France.
All in all, Zelensky’s last-ditch attempt at halting the probe has finally met a dead end, and now the IAEA inspectors are finally in Zaporizhzhia.
The IAEA itself claims that Ukraine made the environment hostile for the inspecting officials. The officials are now present at the facility and will remain there until the probe finishes.
Now, the IAEA report is awaited. Once the assessment is out, Ukrainian president Zelensky is bound to see a tragic end to his west-powered political career.