Grossi Pitches UNSC on Ukraine Talks

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In a dramatic in-flight recounting of events at the Zaporozhye nuclear plant in Ukraine, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Rafael Grossi told the UN Security Council Friday, Mar. 4, that he is ready "to travel as soon as practicable to Chernobyl in order to consult" with "our Ukrainian counterpart, but also if necessary and when necessary to the forces in charge" to establish a stable framework for ensuring the physical integrity of both that facility and the six-unit operating plant in southeastern Ukraine attacked last night. Grossi was en route to Tehran to take up safeguards matters overshadowing the Vienna nuclear talks. US Ambassador to the UN Linda Thomas-Greenfield joined a chorus of other ambassadors in condemning the attack at Zaporozhye but also said that Russian military forces controlling the Chernobyl site "have not permitted operators there to have a shift change since last week," calling this "highly irresponsible behavior." Russian Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya accused "Ukrainian nationalists" of fomenting the attack on Zaporozhye and said that (presumably) Russian "personnel has been brought in with relevant experience, including experience in operating the engineering and technical facilities" at the plant, which he said is similar to the situation at Chernobyl. He accused Kyiv authorities "assisted ... by their Western backers" of kindling "artificial hysteria around what is happening in Ukraine," saying "we have once again heard lies about how Russian troops attacked the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant."

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