Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that Russian forces “do not have heavy weapons in the area of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” as each side continues to accuse one another of shelling the plant and surrounding area.
Lack of access makes it impossible to verify the claims.
During a conference call Friday at the Ministry of Defense in Moscow, Shoigu said, “The Ukrainian authorities openly lie that the Russian Armed Forces, hiding behind important energy facilities, are shelling the Armed Forces of Ukraine from long-range artillery systems.”
“I responsibly declare that we do not have heavy weapons on the territory of the nuclear power plant and in the surrounding areas. I hope the IAEA commission will be convinced of this,” he said.
Shoigu said that since mid-July the Ukrainian military “have been regularly attacking the infrastructure of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” and that 29 attacks had been registered since July 18.
Meanwhile, the Ukrainian nuclear power provider, Energoatom, said on Friday that “the Russian military lies, manipulates and misrepresents reality at Zaporizhzhia NPP by disseminating only information on the IAEA mission visit it could benefit from.”