Russian President Vladimir Putin called "rubbish" the allegations about the Russian army shelling itself at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP).
Speaking at the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), Putin said that there were pieces of HIMARS rockets found on the territory of the ZNPP. Ukraine received those multiple launch rocket systems from the United States, Putin said adding that there was no Russian military hardware on the ZNPP territory.
"There are pieces of HIMARS and other weapons all over the place there. Does it pose a threat or not? Of course, it does,” Putin said.
Speaking at the forum, Putin also said that the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was staying under pressure from the United States and Europe. For this reason, Putin assumed, the IAEA could not say it straight that the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was shelled from the territory of Ukraine.
“The IAEA is a responsible international organization, and its director is a very professional person. They are, of course, under pressure from the countries where they work, including the United States and European countries, and they can not directly say that the shelling comes from Ukrainian territory. Yet, this is obvious. We control the station, our servicemen are stationed there. Are we shelling ourselves there or what? <…>
"I saw that the report said that the IAEA considered it necessary to remove military equipment from the territory of the station. There is no military equipment on the territory of the station. <...> It has been deployed quite far beyond the perimeter of the station.
"The Ukrainian side creates threats to undermine nuclear security. I honestly do not really understand why they are doing that. Just to draw attention to their position? Create additional crises there?" Putin said.
It is worthy of note that IAEA Director Rafael Grossi found it difficult to answer the question about those responsible for the shelling of the ZNPP.
"No, It's not in my remit," Grossi told CNN, adding that the IAEA had neither mandate nor capabilities to make any assessments in the military sphere, including identifying those responsible for the shelling.