Ukraine calls for new missions to the Zaporizhia station, including a UN peacekeeping force

The head of Ukraine's state nuclear energy company, Energoatom, said Monday that it was necessary for the UN inspectors' mission at the Zaporizhia nuclear plant to end Russia's control of the facility, and called for new missions to be sent to the site, including a UN peacekeeping force.

The International Atomic Energy Agency is preparing a report on the mission after its inspectors crossed the front line last week to reach the perilous facility in southern Ukraine that Kyiv and Moscow accuse each other of bombing, raising the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.

Two experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency are scheduled to stay indefinitely at the largest plant in Europe, which was seized by Russian forces in early March shortly after the war began.

In an interview with "Reuters", Petro Cotten, head of Energo Atom, said that the formation of a permanent mission was a "good" step, but the "origin of the problem" remained as Russian forces continued to control the site.

"We need to draw conclusions from this mission on the ground. These conclusions should (resolve) the whole situation by ending Russian control. If the mission does not produce that, then we must have some viable outcome."

Kotin described the situation at the station as "very dangerous" and unprecedented in light of the deteriorating condition of the power lines connecting the facility to the Ukrainian grid, and said that Kyiv was expecting from the International Atomic Energy Agency more than just expressing concern.

The agency had described its mission as technical in nature.

Kotin pointed out that Ukraine will face a difficult winter if it loses the energy produced by the station, which supplied it with more than one-fifth of its electricity needs before the war.

"If we do not have the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant, it will be a perilous winter. We urgently need (it)," he said.

Cotten suggested increasing the number of agency inspectors at the station, adding that "the presence of other international organizations, such as United Nations peacekeeping forces or other international missions from the European Union, will help provide an independent view of what is going on there, and ultimately remove the Russians from the station."

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