Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky announced on Friday that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is connected to its power grid, but cautioned that the “situation remains very risky.”
“I want to emphasize that the situation remains very risky and dangerous,” said Zelensky in a presidential address.
“Any repeat of yesterday’s events, that is, any disconnection of the plant from the grid, any actions by Russia that could trigger the shutdown of the reactors, will again put the plant one step away from disaster.”
Zelensky applauded nuclear scientists for protecting the power plant, which he said is “constantly being provoked by Russian forces,” from the “worst-case scenario.”
Ukraine’s nuclear power plants have caused concern amid the Russian invasion that warfare could prompt a nuclear disaster. The Russians seized control over the plant at the start of the conflict.
The Zaporizhzhia plant was disconnected from its grid on Thursday after fire broke out around the lines connecting to the grid.
Shortly after the disconnection, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced that it would send a delegation to the nuclear power plant for safety and security reasons.
The delegation was previously scheduled to visit Zaporizhzhia to take inventory of its resources.
Zelensky addressed the IAEA visit during his speech on Friday, supporting its involvement with the nuclear power plant.
“That is why it is so important that the IAEA mission arrives at the plant as soon as possible and helps keep the NPP under continuous control of Ukraine,” Zelensky said, referencing possible future dangers resulting from Russian possession of the plant.
Zelensky called on the international community to support Ukraine both in supervision of the Zaporizhzhia plant and in holding Russia accountable for the delays the war has caused in grain exportation from Ukraine.
“I emphasize that it is the full responsibility of the partners to prevent any Russian provocations and disruption of exports,” he said.
Zelesnky shared that the recent “grain export initiative” had moved a million tons of food out of the country and that Ukraine intends to continue that work.
“This is a victory,” said Zelensky, adding that 44 grain vessels were sent to 15 countries while Ukraine waits on 70 additional applications for the arrival of vessels at ports.