(Reuters) – Ukraine’s state nuclear inspectorate on Friday accused the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of falling for Russian propaganda and demanded it back efforts by Kyiv to expel Moscow’s forces from a major power plant.
The complaint coincides with signs of increasing unhappiness by Ukrainian authorities about what they say is less than whole-hearted support from the international community in the war against Russia.
Moscow’s forces have occupied the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, the largest of its kind in Europe. Shortly before the invasion, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Ukraine was using Soviet know-how to create its own nuclear weapons.
Oleg Korikov, acting head of the inspectorate, said IAEA director general Rafael Grossi had this week told the World Economic Forum at Davos that there were large stocks of plutonium and enriched uranium at the plant that could be used to make nuclear weapons. Korikov said this was totally untrue.
“It is very sad that the bold lies of Russian propaganda are broadcast at a high level by the IAEA’s top official,” he said in statement posted on the inspectorate’s Facebook page.
Korikov also complained that the IAEA – the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog – had not responded to numerous Ukrainian appeals to do more about what he called Russia’s “nuclear terrorism”.
He called on Grossi to back Ukraine’s demands for the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops and nuclear specialists from the Zaporizhzhia plant.
The IAEA media relations office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Reporting by David Ljunggren; editing by Grant McCool)