Russia has no intention to withdraw its troops from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Kremlin’s spokesperson Dmitriy Peskov told Russian propaganda agency RIA Novosti on Sept. 12.
“Withdrawing troops from the Zaporizhzhia NPP is not on the table,” Peskov said.
He reiterated Russia’s claims that Ukraine is responsible for repeatedly shelling the station, despite these claims being provably false.
The last operational reactor at the ZNPP was shut down on Sept. 11. According to Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom, it was done after repeated Russian attacks damaged the station’s connection to the Ukrainian power grid.
A delegation of 14 IAEA experts arrived at Russia-occupied ZNPP on Sep. 1. After spending several hours at the facility, part of the delegation departed. Two agency experts remain at the power plant, monitoring the situation. IAEA head Rafael Grossi later said the agency will have a permanent presence at ZNPP.
IAEA has presented its report on the situation on Sept. 6. The document suggests there is an acute need for temporary measures to ensure nuclear safety of ZNPP, including establishing a secure zone around the power plant.
Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe, and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station's employees are captives of the occupying troops.
The Kremlin uses the facility as cover for its forces, as Ukraine can’t return fire, for the risk of causing a nuclear calamity.