Any mission launched by the UN nuclear agency to inspect Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant cannot pass through the capital Kyiv because it is too dangerous, a senior Russian diplomat told Russian news agencies on Tuesday.

“Imagine what it means to pass through Kyiv – it means that they get to the nuclear power plant through the front line,” Ihar Vyshniavetskyi, the deputy head of the Department for Combating Nuclear Weapons and Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, was quoted as saying by a journalist.

“This is a huge risk, considering that the armed forces of Ukraine are not all formed in the same way.”

UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Monday in New York that the UN secretary general has assessed that it has the logistical and security capabilities to be able to support any IAEA mission to the Russian-controlled plant in Zaporozhye from Kiev.

The TASS news agency, citing Vishnivetskyi, said that any such mission does not have a mandate to “demilitarize” the nuclear power plant, as Kyiv demands, since it can only deal with “implementing IAEA guarantees.”

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