IAEA confirms Russians mined area around Zaporizhzhia NPP

The UN nuclear watchdog, IAEA, confirmed on Monday that the Russian military had mined the area surrounding the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant with anti-personnel mines.

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In a statement, IAEA director general Rafael Grossi said that "during a walkdown on 23 July, the IAEA team saw some mines located in a buffer zone between the site’s internal and external perimeter barriers".

"The experts reported that they were situated in a restricted area that operating plant personnel cannot access and were facing away from the site. The team did not observe any within the inner site perimeter during the walkdown," the statement read.

While the IAEA inspectors at the Zaporizhzhia NPP had been aware of the previous placement of mines outside the site perimeter and also at particular places inside, they have been told by the Russian side that "it is a military decision, and in an area controlled by military," Mr Grossi said.

"Having such explosives on the site is inconsistent with the IAEA safety standards and nuclear security guidance and creates additional psychological pressure on plant staff," he stressed.

Last month, Ukraine warned Russia has mined the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station in southeastern Ukraine, which is the largest in Europe and among the 10 largest in the world.

Kyiv has also repeatedly warned that Moscow might stage provocations on the plant.