Live updates: Russia’s war in Ukraine

Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s governor of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), attends the IAEA Board of Governors meeting on March 7 at the IAEA headquarters in Vienna, Austria. (Askin Kiyagan/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Moscow welcomes a planned visit by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in southeastern Ukraine, which is occupied by Russian forces, a Russian diplomat said.

Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna, Mikhail Ulyanov, said Russia understood the IAEA would leave several representatives at the plant on a permanent basis, state media RIA Novosti reported.

“As far as we understand, the Director General’s intention is to leave many people on the station on a permanent basis,” Ulyanov said, RIA.

Ulyanov added that “about a dozen employees of the agency’s secretariat dealing with security and nuclear security issues” and a large group of UN staff dealing with logistics and security, RIA reported.

“Russia has made a significant contribution to the preparation of this mission. We believe that the arrival of the plant by the IAEA mission will dispel many speculations about unfavorable conditions at the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant,” Ulyanov added.

whats going on? Early Monday morning, IAEA chief Rafael Mariano Croci tweeted that the team would arrive in Zaporizhia — home to Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — “later this week.”

The Kremlin said on Monday that the IAEA’s mission would enter the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant from the Ukrainian side, but Russia would ensure its security in the territory occupied by the Russian military.

“As far as the territory under Russian control is concerned, there will be an appropriate level of security,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a regular conference call.

“[The mission] will enter [nuclear plant] Territory from the zone controlled by the Ukrainian Armed Forces. There, security will be provided by the Ukrainians,” Peskov added.

Asked about the possibility of creating a demilitarized zone around the plant, Peskov said “it’s not under discussion.”

Peskov also said that Russia welcomes the long-awaited IAEA mission.

“We have been waiting for this task for a long time. We consider it necessary,” said Peskov.

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