KATERYNA TYSHCHENKO — SUNDAY, 4 SEPTEMBER 2022, 21:25
The Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation has stated that Ukrainian and Western journalists, whom the invaders did not let enter the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear power Plant (ZNPP) on 1 September, were allegedly preparing a provocation and that more than 60 media representatives from different countries were allowed to enter in their place.
Source: statement by an official representative of the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation
Details: Volodymyr Zelenskyy, President of Ukraine, has said that journalists were not able to accompany the IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP). The Russian Defence Ministry responded to this statement only on Sunday, 4 September.
Quote from the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation: "While the Kyiv regime and its Western sponsors were preparing for an operation to seize the ZNPP on 1 September, specially chosen and trained ‘media representatives’ from Ukraine, the US and the UK had to inform the world community in the presence of the IAEA of the transfer of the station to Kyiv’s control.
To this end, as was confirmed on 2 September of this year by Zelenskyy's public statement, the Kyiv government added cars carrying Ukrainian and Western journalists to the IAEA motorcade".
More details: The Russian Defence Ministry said that according to "detailed and agreed documents", access to the territory of Zaporizhzhia Oblast that is controlled by the invaders should have been provided strictly on the basis of the lists previously submitted to the Russian Defence Ministry by the UN Department of Safety and Security.
"No representatives of the Ukrainian or other mass media who were supposed to accompany the convoy of IAEA experts from the territory controlled by the Kyiv regime to the Zaporizhzhya NPP on 1 September are included on the agreed mission lists," the Russians say.
The Russian Defence Ministry stated that "in order to comply with the safety protocol of the mission", all outsiders who tried to cross the line of demarcation together with the IAEA motorcade were halted and not allowed to pass.
The Russian authorities also claim that at the request of the IAEA Secretariat, more than 60 media representatives, including from France, the United States, China, Denmark, Japan, Germany, Turkey, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, South Korea, Vietnam and other countries, were invited by the Russians to cover the mission's work at Zaporizhzhia NPP.
According to the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation, on the morning of 1 September, the journalists belonging to this pool who arrived in Enerhodar were allegedly "direct eyewitnesses of an unsuccessful attempt to storm the Zaporizhzhia NPP by Ukrainian saboteurs and, hiding in a bomb shelter, personally observed a massive artillery attack by the Ukrainian Armed Forces at the nuclear plant and residential quarters in Enerhodar."
Background: The mission of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was supposed to arrive at the Zaporizhzhia NPP on 31 August, but did not get there until 1 September.
It took quite some time for the mission to reach the ZNPP, with the Russians not providing the experts with special passes. Fourteen members of the mission did not arrive at the occupied station until 1 September and spent 2.5 hours there, after which only 5 representatives of the mission remained at the nuclear power plant. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, said that the IAEA team would maintain its presence at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that despite the agreement with IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi, the mission arrived at the Zaporizhzhia NPP without any escort by independent journalists.
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