President Volodymyr Zelensky of Ukraine hailed the arrival of United Nations inspectors at the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant on Thursday but said Russia was undermining the inspection by preventing independent journalists from observing it and by intimidating residents in the surrounding town.
“We have clear evidence that Russia did a lot of cynical things to deceive the mission,” he said in his nightly address, saying residents of Enerhodar were forced to lie to the representatives of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog. The claims could not be independently verified.
International and Ukrainian journalists were not allowed to join the inspectors and observe the plant, as promised, Mr. Zelensky said, adding that only Russian “propagandists” were allowed in.
“Unfortunately, the I.A.E.A. representatives did not protect the representatives of independent media,” he said.
Mr. Zelensky again called for a demilitarized zone around the plant, where constant shelling has raised the risk of a nuclear catastrophe.