Ukraine demands the creation of a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of women, children and the elderly from the area around the captured Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant, Iryna Vereshchuk, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine, said on Facebook on Sept. 5.
"People turn to us en masse for help — they are trying to leave the dangerous area," she said on the air of the French TV channel LCI earlier.
“We once again appeal to the Russian Federation to provide us with a humanitarian corridor for the evacuation of women, children, and the elderly.”
According to Vereshchuk, Moscow officially refuses to provide such corridors.
The minister added that Ukraine will not stop trying to help its citizens leave for safe places.
A delegation from the International Atomic Energy Agency, initially consisting of 14 experts, arrived at the Zaporizhzhya NPP in the temporarily occupied town of Enerhodar on Sept. 1. Specialists led by Director General Rafael Grossi spent several hours at the facility. A few representatives of the mission then remained at the station.
The Director General of the IAEA stated that the delegation will establish a permanent presence at the ZNPP.
Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom said that Russian troops are doing everything they can to prevent IAEA from properly assessing how ZNPP fares under Russian military occupation. In particular, the delegation was barred from the plant’s crisis management center, packed with Russian soldiers.
Grossi stated that the physical integrity of the Zaporizhzhya NPP was violated several times, which is unacceptable.
Zaporizhzhya 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 military forces, with Ukraine refusing to return fire, due to the risk of causing a nuclear calamity.
After Russian shelling caused a fire at ZNPP, the facility’s last remaining operational reactor had been disconnected from Ukraine’s power grid on Sept. 5.
The head of the Zaporizhzhya regional military administration, Oleksandr Starukh, on Aug. 16 called on the residents of the nearby town of Enerhodar to evacuate. He said that in the event of an accident, about 400,000 people would have to be evacuated from two neighboring oblasts.