Russia: Too dangerous for IAEA to go through Kyiv to visit Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

FILE PHOTO: Smoke rises over Kyiv after Russian missile strikes on the Ukrainian capital's outskirts, as Russia's attack on Ukraine continues, in Kyiv, Ukraine July 28, 2022. REUTERS/Vladyslav Sodel

(Reuters) - Any mission undertaken by the U.N.'s nuclear agency to inspect Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia plant cannot pass through the capital Kyiv as it is too dangerous, a senior Russian diplomat was quoted by Russian news agencies as saying on Tuesday.

"Imagine what it means to pass through Kyiv -- it means they get to the nuclear plant through the front line," RIA news agency quoted Igor Vishnevetsky, deputy head of the foreign ministry's nuclear proliferation and arms control department as telling journalists.

"This is a huge risk, given that Ukraine's armed forces are not all made up in the same way."

U.N. spokesperson Stephane Dujarric said on Monday in New York that the U.N. Secretary had assessed that it had the logistics and security capacity to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Russian-controlled Zaporizhzhia plant from Kyiv.

Tass news agency quoted Vishnevetsky as saying that any such mission had no mandate to address the "demilitarisation" of the plant as demanded by Kyiv as it could only deal with "fulfillment of IAEA guarantees".

(Reporting by Ronald Popeski; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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