IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky Monday to discuss plans to protect the embattled Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant. Photo courtesy IAEA/Twitter
March 27 (UPI) -- The head of the United Nation's nuclear agency visited Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia Power Plant on Monday, as the Kremlin said it would not be deterred from moving tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus.
International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Rafael Grossi announced on Twitter Monday that he met with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the city of Zaporizhzhia where they had a "rich exchange" on protecting the power plant and its staff.
"I reiterated the full support of the IAEA to Ukraine's nuclear facilities," he said.
The nuclear plant, the largest in Europe, has been in peril since the start of Russia's invasion. The Russian military currently controls the plant with a virtually all-Ukrainian crew operating it while fighting continues to swirl around it.
It most recently had its power cut due to bombing earlier this month.
"I remain determined to continue doing everything in my power to help reduce the risk of a nuclear accident during the tragic war in Ukraine. Despite our presence at the site for seven months now, the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is still precarious," Grossi said ahead of the visit.
Also Monday, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov responded to criticism from the United States and western Europe on Moscow's plans to move tactical nuclear weapons to Belarus, north of the Ukrainian border, saying Russia would continue with the plans.
"Russia's plans are certainly not affected by such a reaction," Peskov said in his Monday news briefing.
Russian President Vladimir Putin announced on Saturday that he would move station tactical nuclear weapons in Belarus, one of Moscow's few allies in its invasion of Ukraine. Charging that the United States has done the same with its allies, Russia said it will remain in control of the weapons that are moved to Belarus.
NATO called Putin's decision "dangerous and irresponsible" while Ukraine has called for an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council over the matter.
Putin said Russia will start training crews to handle the weapons next week while Belarussian storage facilities are expected to be completed by July 1.