Russia-Ukraine war: IAEA team determined to reach Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant despite conflicting reports of shelling – live | Ukraine

IAEA team determined to reach Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant despite conflicting reports of shelling

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team seeking to inspect the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) occupied by Russian forces in southern Ukraine has said that it is determined to reach the plant today, despite being held up at a checkpoint amid reports of increased military activity in the vicinity of Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.

Reports say the UN convey is being held some 20km from the frontline.

The IAEA inspectors are being led personally by the director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, who told the media earlier: “There has been increased military activity including this morning, until very recently, a few minutes ago … but weighing the pros and cons and having come so far, we are not stopping.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, leaves a hotel as the IAEA mission departs for a visit to Zaporizhzhia.
The International Atomic Energy Agency director general, Rafael Mariano Grossi, leaves a hotel as the IAEA mission departs for a visit to Zaporizhzhia. Photograph: Reuters

Early today, the ZNPP operator Energoatom said that “due to another mortar shelling by the Russian occupying forces … the emergency protection was activated and the operating power unit five was shut down.”

The city mayor of Energodar, where the plant is located, posted images to Telegram purporting to show damage to buildings. Dmytro Orlov, said “several civilian objects were hit”.

A general view of a crater left by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia in a picture obtained by Reuters.
A general view of a crater left by a Russian missile strike in Zaporizhzhia in a picture obtained by Reuters. Photograph: Video Obtained By Reuters/Reuters

For their part, Russian’s ministry of defence has claimed that earlier today it repulsed an attempt by Ukrainian forces to sabotage or retake the ZNPP. It said a small number of Ukrainian troops had launched two amphibious attacks. It also alleged that Ukrainian fire had come within 400 metres of the ZNPP.

The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said at an event in Moscow: “We are doing everything to ensure that this station is safe, that it functions safely. And for the mission there to carry out all its plans.”

The adviser to Ukraine’s president, Mykhailo Podolyak, said Russia’s actions today around the ZNPP demonstrate “the true weight of Russian ‘guarantees’ for any intermediaries”.

Key events

IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant now at Ukrainian checkpoint about 20km from frontline

The IAEA mission to the Russian-held Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant is waiting at a Ukrainian checkpoint after fresh shelling around the plant on Thursday, but remains determined to reach the plant today, a spokesperson has told Reuters.

Ukraine’s state nuclear company Energoatom confirmed that the IAEA convoy is at a Ukrainian checkpoint about 20km (12.4 miles) from the frontline, and is waiting for the situation near the plant to become safer.

Inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are on their way to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, despite reports of shelling in the area. The IAEA director general, Rafael Grossi, said the mission understood the high risk from the “increased military activity” between Ukrainian and Russian defence lines but was going ahead with its plans to visit the plant. Here is a video clip of their departure.

Zaporizhzhia: IAEA mission sets off to Ukrainian nuclear plant as shelling reported nearby – video

The Russian ministry of defence has said the situation around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, which it occupies, is “difficult, but remains under full control”. In a statement posted to Telegram it said:

Despite the attempts of the Kyiv regime to disrupt the arrival of a group of IAEA experts at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the Russian side confirms its readiness to accept them with full safety for further work. The situation in the area of ​​the nuclear power plant is difficult, but remains under full control.

Russia has alleged this morning that Ukrainian forces attempted to launch an amphibious mission to sabotage or recapture the power plant. The attack, as described by Russian sources, would have involved a significant crossing of the Dnieper River, which Roland Oliphant, foreign correspondent at the Telegraph, has assessed as “bold/suicidal”.

Russia’s foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov, said this morning that Russia was doing everything to ensure that Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant could operate safely, and for visiting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency to be able to complete their tasks.

Speaking at an event to celebrate the opening of the school year in Moscow, Lavrov said: “We are doing everything to ensure that this station is safe, that it functions safely. And for the mission there to carry out all its plans.”

Russian forces have occupied Europe’s largest nuclear power plant since March.

Away from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant for a moment, 1 September marks the start of the school year in Ukraine. Oleksiy Kuleba, governor of Kyiv, has posted to Telegram to say:

This year it is unusual for all of us – without traditional lines, without a large crowd of schoolchildren. There is a full-scale war in the country and this is our new reality. The first thing we think about is the safety of our young citizens. Despite everything, we are starting the school year. Educational institutions of the region will work in face-to-face, mixed and distance formats.

Students walk together as they enter class during their first day of school in Irpin.
Students walk together as they enter class during their first day of school in Irpin. Photograph: Emilio Morenatti/AP

Mykhailo Podolyak, who is an adviser to Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has said that the actions today around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant demonstrate “the true weight of Russian ‘guarantees’ for any intermediaries”. He has tweeted:

Russia carries out demonstrative strikes on Energodar, hitting the official route of the IAEA mission. To blame it on Ukraine. Houses were destroyed. This is a demonstration of the real ‘interest’ of the Russian Federation in the inspection. And this is another proof of the true weight of Russian ‘guarantees’ for any intermediaries.

Росія завдає демонстративних ударів по Енергодару, б’ючи по офіційному маршруту місії МАГАТЕ. Щоб звинуватити в цьому 🇺🇦. Зруйновано будинки. Це демонстрація справжньої «зацікавленості» Рф у перевірці. І це ще один доказ справжньої ваги 🇷🇺 «гарантій» для будь-яких посередників.

— Михайло Подоляк (@Podolyak_M) September 1, 2022

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has issued its daily operation briefing, in which it claims to have killed 450 members of the pro-Russian forces occupying Ukraine in the previous 24 hours, taking the total number of claimed casualties to “about 48,350”.

The statement also says that “[the] Russian enemy suffered the greatest losses (of the past day) at the Donetsk and Kurakhove directions.”

The claims have not been independently verified.

The Interfax-Ukraine news agency is reporting that the IAEA inspectors are at a checkpoint in Novooleksandrivka, which is about 20km away from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant they are attempting to visit. The agency writes:

A source close to the mission told Interfax-Ukraine. ‘You can hear the arrivals here. But in the distance,’ it said. The movement of the column is stopped. As one of the members of the mission told the agency, ‘we are waiting when it will be safe.’

The report has also been distributed on Telegram by Energoatom, the Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The Russian defence ministry has issued additional details of what it claims is an attempt by Ukrainian forces to sabotage or recapture the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant (ZNPP) in southern Ukraine which Russian forces have been occupying since March.

Without offering any evidence, the ministry said:

At 6.20am Moscow time, on the coast of the Kakhovka Reservoir, 3km northeast of the ZNPP, the Kyiv regime landed two sabotage groups of the armed forces of Ukraine with a total number of up to 60 people on seven high-speed motor boats. The saboteurs were blocked by units of the Russian guard, which were guarding the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and units of the Russian armed forces approached them to reinforce them. Currently, the destruction of the sabotage group of the armed forces of Ukraine with the involvement of army aviation helicopters is underway.

At about 7am Moscow time, units of the Russian armed forces thwarted an attempt to land a tactical assault force of the armed forces of Ukraine on two self-propelled barges that left Nikopol a few kilometres from the ZNPP. As a result of the fire damage of the Russian armed forces, two self-propelled barges were sunk.

The claims have not been independently verified. An earlier statement by the ministry gave the time of the attack as 6am.

British volunteer medic killed in Ukraine, sister says

Caroline Davies

Caroline Davies

A British man has died while volunteering as a medic in Ukraine, his family has said. Craig Mackintosh, from Thetford in Norfolk, died “in the line of duty” on 24 August, his sister Lorna Mackintosh said.

She has raised more than £5,000 on a GoFundMe page to bring her brother’s body back to the UK. The UK Foreign Office said it was supporting the family.

Writing on the fundraising page, Mackintosh said: “Our brother bravely volunteered to go to [Ukraine] as a medic to help save lives in this war-torn country. This selfless man is currently stranded in a morgue in Ukraine and there is no help to get him home.”

She said it would cost about £4,000 to return his body to the UK.

“He gave his life to save others and he needs to come back home to have the service he deserves. A true hero’s service surrounded by his family and friends. Please, please help to bring our hero home.”

Read more of Caroline Davies’ report here: British volunteer medic killed in Ukraine, sister says

Here are some of the images that have been sent to us over the news wires of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) team departing this morning in their attempt to visit the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

IAEA chief Rafael Grossi speaks to the media this morning.
IAEA chief Rafael Grossi speaks to the media this morning. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
UN inspectors prepare to head to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine.
UN inspectors prepare to head to the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine. Photograph: Genya Savilov/AFP/Getty Images
Rafael Grossi speaking to members of the press.
Rafael Grossi speaking to members of the press. Photograph: Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

The Ukrainian operator of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, Energoatom, has posted again to the Telegram app to restate what it claims is the local situation. At 9.41am Kyiv time, it posted:

On the morning of September 1, Energodar, a satellite city of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, came under fire from the occupying forces. A group of Russian K-52 attack helicopters “worked” over the city, striking residential areas. A mortar attack was carried out in the immediate vicinity of the territory of the ZNPP and nuclear reactors.

The claims have not been independently verified.

Earlier this morning, Ukraine’s city mayor of Energodar, Dmytro Orlov, posted some images which he claimed showed damage to civilian targets this morning. The images have not been independently verified.

Ukrainian officials say Energodar, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has come under attack this morning. This image was posted to Telegram by the city mayor, Dmytro Orlov.
Ukrainian officials say Energodar, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has come under attack this morning. This image was posted to Telegram by the city mayor, Dmytro Orlov. Photograph: Telegram account of Energodar city mayor, Dmytro Orlov.
Ukrainian officials say Energodar, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has come under attack this morning. This image was posted to Telegram by city mayor Dmytro Orlov.
Ukrainian officials say Energodar, home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, has come under attack this morning. This image was posted to Telegram by the city mayor, Dmytro Orlov. Photograph: Telegram account of Energodar city mayor, Dmytro Orlov.

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