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International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi said Monday he was leading a mission to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant that would arrive later this week. The plant, Europe’s largest, has been the target of strikes in recent weeks. Follow our liveblog to keep up with the latest developments. All times are Paris time (GMT+2).


8:26am: IAEA team cleared for Zaporizhzhia mission after intense negotiations

Reporting from Kyiv, FRANCE 24’s James André explains that the long-awaited green light for the IAEA’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant inspection mission came after intense negotiations. 

In a message posted on Twitter this morning, IAEA chief Rafael Grossi said the inspection team would be at the site “later this week”.  

Some of the key sticking points were the composition of the team, André explains, with “Russia and Ukraine haggling over the names. It appears Rafael Grossi will be part of that team, as well as experts who are considered pro-Ukrainian – such as Polish and Latvian experts – but also experts from countries considered pro-Russian, from Serbia or other countries considered close to Moscow. And then there are experts from a list of countries considered to be neutral.”

6:44am: IAEA team heading to Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Rafael Grossi has said he was on his way to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, which has been the target of strikes in recent weeks.

“The day has come, IAEA‘s Support and Assistance Mission to Zaporizhzhya is now on its way,” Grossi tweeted, saying the team from the UN atomic watchdog would arrive at Europe’s largest nuclear power plant “later this week”.

Grossi has for months been asking to be able to visit the site, warning of “the very real risk of a nuclear disaster”.

The Zaporizhzhia plant, which has six of Ukraine’s reactors, has been occupied by Russian troops since shortly after Moscow launched its invasion on February 24, and has remained on the frontlines ever since.

1:05am: EU foreign policy chief says a visa ban on Russians is unlikely

European Union foreign ministers meeting later this week are unlikely to unanimously back a visa ban on all Russians, as would be needed to put such a ban in place, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told Austria’s ORF TV on Sunday.

“I don’t think that to cut the relationship with the Russian civilian population will help and I don’t think that this idea will have the required unanimity,” Borrell, who chairs EU foreign ministers’ meetings, told the national broadcaster.

“I think that we have to review the way that some Russians get a visa, certainly the oligarchs not. We have to be more selective. But I am not in favour of stopping delivering visas to all Russians.”

(FRANCE 24 with AFP, AP and Reuters)

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