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IAEA director general meets Russian officials in Moscow

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International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the situation at the Zaphirzhizia nuclear power plant. Photo courtesy Rosatom
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi met Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the situation at the Zaphirzhizia nuclear power plant. Photo courtesy Rosatom

Dec. 22 (UPI) -- Representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency met with Russian officials in Moscow on Thursday to discuss the situation at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine.

IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi traveled to Russia for what he described as "another round of necessary discussions" to protect the area surrounding the plant amid reports of shelling in the area as the conflict between Russia and Ukraine rages on.

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"It's key that the zone focuses solely on preventing a nuclear accident," Grossi wrote on Twitter. "I am continuing my efforts towards this goal with a sense of utmost urgency.

Grossi met with Aleksei Likhachev, the head of Rostechnadzor, the government body that supervises nuclear energy in Russia; Igor Kirillov, the chief of Radiation, Chemical, and Biological Protection Forces of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation; Vladimir Mashevskiy, the head of the General Directorate for Facilities' Security of the Federal National Guard Troops Service; and Igor Vishnevsetsky, the Deputy Director of the Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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"Approaches to the establishment of a Nuclear Safety and Security Protection Zone at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant were discussed during the meeting," reads a press release from Russian state-owned nuclear energy company Rosatom.

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The Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was occupied by Russian forces in March and has been the site of a tense standoff ever since. Ukrainian forces accuse Russia of placing heavy weapons at the power plant and CNN confirmed in August that Russian military vehicles were parked inside the facility.

Ukrainian cities along the Dnieper river, like Mykolaiv and Zaporizhzhia city, have experienced intense bombardment from Russian-controlled areas on the south bank of the river.

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The IAEA has repeatedly raised concerns about the facility and sent inspectors to the plant in September.

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