Halt to military activities around Zaporizhzhia is vital, says expert

·1-min read

The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, described military activity at Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant as "playing with fire”. It follows the release of a highly-anticipated report by the UN nuclear watchdog on Tuesday about the situation in Ukraine, including at the Russian-held plant.

Moscow and Kyiv have blamed each other for a string of attacks around the nuclear plant, but the report stopped short of pointing the finger at either side.

In his nightly address, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy repeated his calls for a demilitarized zone around the plant. An inspection by members of the atomic agency warned of the potential for a catastrophe.

Safety at the plant

"The important [thing] is that there is no military activities nearby, and the power plant can operate as they are designed – in a safe manner," said Olli Heinonen, a former deputy director at the IAEA, who has served as an inspector himself.

"But if we cannot get this[...]in the next couple of weeks, I think that one has to think seriously of shutting down the reactor for a while, as was suggested by one of the Ukrainian authorities today".

Watch the video above to hear the rest of the interview.