Amid Growing Safety Concerns, Delegates Stress Urgency of Allowing Technical Experts to Conduct Security, Safeguard Mission
Thesituation at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has deteriorated rapidly to the point of becoming “very alarming”, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi warned the Security Council today, in a meeting requested by the Russian Federation and marked by resounding calls to allow the Agency’s technical experts to visit the area to address mounting safety concerns.
“These military actions near such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences,” Mr. Grossi said, stressing that the Agency has been in frequent contact with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation to ensure it has the clearest picture possible of the evolving circumstances.
Providing an overview of events, he said that, on 5 August, the Zaporizhzhia plant — Europe’s largest — was subjected to shelling, resulting in several explosions near the electrical switchboard, and causing a power shutdown. One reactor unit was disconnected from the electrical grid, triggering its emergency protection system and setting generators into operation to ensure power supply. There was also shelling in a nitrogen-oxygen station. While firefighters extinguished the blaze, he said repairs must be assessed and evaluated.
While IAEA experts’ preliminary assessment indicated that there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other military actions, “this could change at any moment”, he said.
He recalled the seven indispensable pillars that are critical for nuclear safety and security, including aspects dealing with the physical integrity of the plant, off-site power supply, cooling systems and emergency preparedness systems and measures. “All these pillars have been compromised if not entirely violated at one point or another during this crisis,” he observed.
Preventing nuclear catastrophe must be a collective, overarching goal. He asked both sides to cooperate with IAEA. “This is a serious hour, a grave hour and the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission in Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible.”
In the ensuing debate, delegates around the Chamber table reinforced the urgent need for IAEA to conduct a safety, security and safeguard mission to the site, a charge that Gabon’s delegate described as “more urgent than ever”. She called on the sides to seize the momentum from the recent grain export agreement to engage in ceasefire negotiations. Some delegates, including from Albania, Ireland and the United Kingdom, said the security around Zaporizhzhia would not be a concern were it not for the Russian Federation’s war against Ukraine.
Outlining his case, the Russian Federation’s delegate said Ukrainian forces used heavy artillery against Zaporizhzhia on 5 August, shelling the plant during a shift change to intimidate staff — their own citizens. On 6 August, these forces attacked with cluster munitions, and on 7 August, a power surge occurred. He blamed Kyiv for refusing to sign a trilateral document issued by IAEA, stressing that the Russian Federation is strictly complying with the IAEA Director General’s seven principles.
In turn, Ukraine’s representative said the withdrawal of Russian troops and return of the station to the legitimate control of Ukraine is the only way to remove the nuclear threat at Zaporizhzhia. Ukraine has insisted on the need to send a mission to the site and has negotiated modalities with the Agency. “Despite their public declarations, the occupiers have resorted to manipulations and unjustified conditions for the site visit,” he said. Given the militarization of the site by Russian armed forces, such a mission must include qualified experts in military aspects.
“It is especially galling that the Russian Federation’s actions are taking place during the ongoing [tenth] Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,” said the United States delegate, one of several calling on the Russian Federation to withdraw its forces from Ukraine, to cease all military operations at or near its facilities and to return full control of Zaporizhzhia to Ukraine.
China’s delegate meanwhile noted that the IAEA Director General has been planning to visit Zaporizhzhia, and Secretary-General António Guterres has issued an appeal for that purpose. He cited a message from Ukraine to Mr. Grossi and the Secretary-General on 9 August underscoring the necessity of that visit, and expressed hope that any obstacles can be cleared to facilitate that mission.
Also speaking today were representatives of Ghana, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Brazil, India, Kenya, France and Mexico.
The representatives of the Russian Federation, United States and United Kingdom took the floor a second time, as did the IAEA Director General.
The meeting began at 3:01 p.m. and ended at 4:55 p.m.
RAFAEL MARIANO GROSSI, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said the IAEA has been actively assessing the situation of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities since the conflict began in February. Recalling his report on the situation to the Council in March, he added that, since 24 February, the Agency has activated its incident and emergency centre, established regular contact with Ukrainian authorities and closely monitored the situation at those facilities, as well as activities involving radioactive sources and nuclear material in Ukraine. The IAEA has also been coordinating offers of help from Member States and has facilitated the provision of equipment, such as personal protection equipment or radiation monitors. To date, 12 Member States have offered assistance. IAEA has been in frequent contact with both Ukraine and the Russian Federation to ensure that it has a clear picture of evolving circumstances at the site. Moreover, the Agency has conducted nine safeguards missions in Ukraine, including at the south Ukraine nuclear power plant and the Chernobyl site.
Recalling his recent address at the ongoing tenth Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons, he pointed to seven pillars that are critical to ensuring nuclear safety and security, including crucial aspects dealing with physical plant safety and emergency preparedness measures. “All those seven pillars have been compromised if not entirely violated at one point or another during this crisis,” he underscored, noting that the situation at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, particularly in Zaporizhzhia, has been deteriorating rapidly to the point of alarm. On 5 August, the Zaporizhzhia plant was subject to shelling, resulting in several explosions. Recounting other details, he said there was shelling in the nitrogen-oxygen section of the plant. Although firefighters extinguished the blaze, repairs must be assessed and evaluated. Moreover, it is reported that staff have restricted access to the onsite emergency crisis centre.
Voicing concern about the situation at the Zaporizhzhia plant, he stressed that any military action jeopardizing nuclear safety and security must stop immediately. “Those military actions near such a large nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences,” he said, expressing grave concern about the situation faced by the Ukrainian operating staff. The Agency continues to monitor the situation and based on the most recent information, IAEA experts’ preliminary assessment indicates there is no immediate threat to nuclear safety as a result of the shelling or other military actions. Noting that the situation could change at any moment, he said “any nuclear catastrophe would be unacceptable and thus preventing it should be our overarching goal”. He asked both sides to cooperate with IAEA and allow for a mission to proceed as soon as possible. As such, IAEA must work with the authorities of both countries to obtain access for its experts, he said.
He went on to say that IAEA has received information from both the Russian Federation and Ukraine indicating the state of the facility, its operations, and damage assessments. However, the contents of such statements are frequently contradictory. Without a physical presence, IAEA cannot corroborate some very important facts and provide an independent assessment of the nuclear safety and security risks. Among critical activities, IAEA will be able to assess the physical damage to the facility, determine whether main and backup safety and security systems are functional, and evaluate working conditions of control room staff. Moreover, IAEA needs to perform maintenance on all IAEA safeguards equipment to ensure remote data-collection and the continuity of knowledge, which is indispensable after IAEA’s departure from the facility. Despite the Agency’s readiness to perform such a mission since June, it was not able to due to political factors and other considerations, he said, stressing that: “This is a serious hour, a grave hour and the IAEA must be allowed to conduct its mission in Zaporizhzhia as soon as possible.”
VASSILY A. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation) said his delegation has repeatedly warned Western colleagues about the Kyiv regime and its criminal attacks on infrastructure, which are pushing the world to the brink of nuclear catastrophe. Ukrainian forces have used heavy artillery to shell Zaporizhzhia, including on 5 August, damaging pipelines, when a hydrogen combustion incident took place. Ukraine shelled the plant during a shift change, to intimidate staff — their own citizens. On 6 August, those forces attacked with cluster munitions, including on a radiation monitoring post, and on 7 August, a power surge occurred in equipment feeding the plant. The electricity supply was knocked out, and Ukrainian staff were forced to suspend some operations. Mass strikes severed power lines, and it was particularly “sacrilegious” that attacks were carried out at night when people were sleeping. Ukrainian armed forces have aimed weapons at concrete storage facilities — and if strikes continue, it is only a matter of time before a catastrophe occurs. He noted the Russian Federation sends IAEA bulletins on these incidents.
He cited other “criminal actions by the Kyiv regime”, including the use of Polish-made drones, and a 9 March incident when Ukrainian saboteurs blew up a power line to the Chernobyl nuclear facility. He cited propaganda attacks by Western media that the Russian Federation is shelling the plant, which contradict logic — as it is Russian forces that are in charge of it. Noting that the representatives of the United States and France have called for protection of the facility, he wondered when they will call on Ukraine to stop the shelling. The facility has only been protected thanks to selfless work of those personnel. He blamed the Kyiv regime for refusing to sign a trilateral document issued by IAEA, stressing that the Russian Federation is strictly complying with the IAEA Director General’s seven principles. His delegation is convinced that the IAEA mission has not occurred because this would play into the hands of Kyiv and its Western backers, who do not want to see that Zaporizhzhia is functioning normally. It is unacceptable for an IAEA mission to be undertaken while Ukraine is shelling. He called on States supporting the Kyiv regime to “bring their proxies into check” and stop the attacks — the only way to prevent a major radiation catastrophe on the European continent, a threat that has never been more serious.
CAROLYN OPPONG-NTIRI (Ghana) said the information provided “confirms our worst fears of a growing risk of a potential nuclear incident, with catastrophic consequences for human lives and the environment.” Condemning the militarization of areas near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, as well as deliberate attacks on the facility’s powerlines and sensitive units, she said these attacks appear to be taking place without regard for the potentially deadly consequences, including accidental emissions of radioactive material. She called for the unconditional withdrawal and removal of all military personnel and equipment, and return of the facility to its accredited personnel. “Under no circumstances should nuclear facilities intended for peaceful purposes be subjected to such attacks,” she stressed, calling for immediate and full respect for the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment by all the armed parties. IAEA warnings must galvanize the Council to assist the Agency to mitigate and suppress any such risks. The cessation of military hostilities, anchored on a complete and unconditional withdrawal of Russian troops from the internationally recognized borders of Ukraine, is the only acceptable pathway to restore peace and security, she said, urging parties to exercise restraint and halt the use of force in all areas of critical infrastructure, including nuclear power plants.
BONNIE JENKINS, Under Secretary for Arms Control and International Security of the United States, voicing concern over the risk of a nuclear incident that would endanger Ukrainians, neighbouring States and the international community, said: “It is especially galling that the Russian Federation’s actions are taking place during the ongoing Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The Russian Federation’s behaviour could not more directly undercut the shared interests of States parties in strengthening non-proliferation, disarmament and peaceful uses of nuclear energy.” She called on the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s territory, to cease all military operations at or near Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and to return full control of the Zaporizhzhia facility to Ukraine. Access for IAEA personnel must be facilitated, she insisted, so they can address nuclear safety, security and safeguard concerns at the Zaporizhzhia facility, as well as other facilities around the country in a manner that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty. Moreover, Ukrainian staff at the power plant must be allowed to fulfil their important duties free from pressure of the Russian Federation.
EDWIGE KOUMBY MISSAMBO (Gabon) recalled that the parties are obliged to end any activity that would expose the world to the risk of a nuclear disaster, stressing that the scale of risks involved should be “a wake-up call” for them. She urged the parties to comply with the nuclear security rules to halt all shelling of the sites and to avoid exposing the world to risk of catastrophe. She called on them to cooperate with IAEA to secure the sites, underscoring the urgency of protecting the 174 containers of spent nuclear fuel from any military activity. Parties must also agree on the modalities of an IAEA mission, which she described as “more than urgent”. She urged parties to harness the momentum from the signing of a grain export agreement to engage in negotiations for a ceasefire. She outlined Gabon’s opposition to the war and encouraged all political and diplomatic efforts to achieve an agreement for lasting peace.
MOHAMED ISSA ABUSHAHAB (United Arab Emirates) expressed deep alarm over recent events at and near the Zaporizhzhia plant, including reported damage to critical infrastructure, the external power supply system and radiation sensors. “When it comes to nuclear matters, our collective security is truly intertwined,” he remarked. It is crucial that IAEA have full, unimpeded access to the site to assess the damage and ascertain the safety of the facility. He recalled the special protections for nuclear power facilities under international law, including Article 56 of Additional Protocol I to the Geneva Conventions, which makes clear that “works or installations containing dangerous forces” including “nuclear generating stations, shall not be made the object of attack”. The high stakes of nuclear safety and security — and the international community’s manifest concern — should make this a focus of “constructive and necessary” engagement between the parties. He reiterated the need for ongoing dialogue to bring the conflict to a peaceful, sustainable resolution, in line with international law.
ODD INGE KVALHEIM (Norway) noted with great distress that Russian forces have violated several of the seven pillars for nuclear safety and security during their military aggression against Ukraine. He strongly condemned the Russian Federation’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine, recalling that the IAEA Board of Governors in March adopted a resolution deploring its “forcefully” seizing control of nuclear facilities. He called on the Russian Federation to return full control of all Ukrainian nuclear facilities to their Ukrainian operators, stressing that the war has disrupted direct communication lines between them and the Ukrainian regulator. “This is extremely dangerous,” he insisted. Staff operating the facilities are under psychological and physical stress — and at the mercy of an invading force. He voiced concern that the Russian Federation’s occupation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine also means seizing control of central electricity sources for Ukrainian civilians, calling on it to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders, and to cease all threats and military actions.
JOÃO GENÉSIO DE ALMEIDA FILHO (Brazil) said all parties concerned have a responsibility to ensure compliance with applicable instruments on nuclear safety and security, including the Convention on Nuclear Safety, Joint Convention on the Safety of Spent Fuel and the Convention on the Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its amendment. During the ongoing Review Conference of the Nuclear Non‑Proliferation Treaty, States parties have been insisting on the need to promote nuclear safety and security, as well as risk reduction, he said, underscoring the urgency of translating those words into action. “The absence of immediate threat does not mean the absence of threat. It only means that the parties still have a chance to avoid a disaster,” he said, calling on all parties to refrain from any measure that could jeopardize the safety and security of the nuclear power plant, as well as its safe operation. He also joined calls for the deployment of an IAEA expert mission to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant without delay.
FERIT HOXHA (Albania) said the issue of concern in the Council today would not need to be discussed were it not for the Russian Federation’s unjustified, senseless war against Ukraine. He described it as ironic that while the tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is underway, the Council needs to discuss a serious nuclear risk threatening Ukraine, Europe and beyond. He recalled that, until the Russian Federation’s invasion, no nuclear plant had ever been attacked, overrun and reportedly militarized by an invading army. There is countless evidence that Russian forces are conducting their war with untold brutality, and there is wide concern that Russian forces may cause — directly or indirectly — a severe nuclear accident or take other actions that would expose people to ionizing radiation, all while accusing the victims themselves of taking such actions. He pointed to events in Kharkiv and the overrun of Europe’s largest nuclear power station at Zaporizhzhia, as well as cyberwarfare targeting Ukraine reportedly linked with Russian actors and interests. Stressing that the IAEA must carry out its mission, he said Russian actions constitute a serious and irresponsible breach of nuclear safety rules, and blatant disregard for international law and norms. The longer the war continues, the greater the likelihood that other nuclear challenges and risks will arise. He reiterated full support for IAEA and its ability to access all facilities in Ukraine. He called on the Russian Federation to stop the war and withdraw all its forces from Ukraine’s entire territory.
RUCHIRA KAMBOJ (India) said that, since the beginning of the conflict in Ukraine, her country has consistently called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence. She called on both sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue, affirming India’s support for all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict. While Member States are discussing the nuclear dimension of the conflict, they need also to be acutely cognizant of its impact on developing countries, particularly, on the supply of food grains, fertilizer and fuel. It is important for all to appreciate the importance of equity, affordability and accessibility when it comes to food grains, she stressed, adding that open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination. In that regard, she welcomed the efforts of the initiative backed by the Secretary-General to open the exports of grains from Ukraine via the Black Sea and the facilitation of the exports of Russian food and fertilizers, noting that those efforts demonstrate that differences can be resolved through sustained dialogue and diplomacy.
JAYNE TOROITICH (Kenya), noting that today’s meeting coincides with the tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, stressed that “we are all alive to the fact that the use of these weapons, whether intentional or accidental can have an apocalyptic effect on humanity.” He voiced deep concern over reports of shelling at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, urging the parties to refrain from any military action that could jeopardize nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. It is essential that IAEA be allowed to send a nuclear safety, security and safeguards mission to the site as soon as possible. He voiced grave concern over the unabated strikes and shelling in various parts of Ukraine, stressing that with no meaningful ceasefire in sight, the war threatens to “usher in a new era of major global wars”. He reiterated the need to shift focus to an immediate cessation and deployment of diplomatic tools, reaffirming respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.
NATHALIE BROADHURST ESTIVAL (France) stressed that the presence and actions of Russian Federation armed forces near the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant significantly increase the risk of an accident with potentially devastating consequences. That State bears the responsibility for this situation and must return to Ukraine full control of the plant, as well as all nuclear facilities in that country. Moreover, he Ukrainian personnel who operate the plant must be able to perform their duties without threat or pressure. The Russian Federation’s control of Ukrainian nuclear facilities is a danger for the Ukrainian people, and beyond that for the region and the entire international community. She stressed that the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security defined by the Director General of the IAEA must be respected, and the Agency’s ability to monitor Ukraine’s peaceful nuclear activities to ensure compliance with safeguards must also be restored. She emphasized the importance of facilitating a mission of IAEA experts to the Zaporizhzhia facility, with full respect for the sovereignty of Ukraine over its territory and infrastructure. Beyond that, IAEA personnel must be able to access all of Ukraine’s nuclear facilities safely and without hindrance, communicating directly, without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for their operation. The Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its troops from the territory of Ukraine and stop its dangerous headlong rush, she stressed.
JUAN RAMÓN DE LA FUENTE RAMÍREZ (Mexico) said that, in line with the 2009 IAEA General Conference: any attack or threat against nuclear facilities dedicated to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Agency’s Statute. The situation prevailing in Zaporizhzhia in recent days is part of a deplorable pattern of attacks on civilian infrastructure, he said, calling on the Russian Federation to respect the obligation not to attack civilian objects and this includes not carrying out indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks. International law, international humanitarian law and nuclear security conventions must be respected without exception. He echoed the Secretary-General’s call for IAEA to be allowed to inspect the Zaporizhzhia plant and urged that no obstacles or conditions be imposed. Such a mission will be able to provide us with objective, accurate and independent information on the conditions prevailing at the plant which are urgent to understand, he said.
CÁIT MORAN (Ireland) voiced deep concern over the situation at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the strong risk of a radiological accident or incident arising from military activity at the site, which would have serious consequences for the people of Ukraine and the wider region. The issues at Zaporizhzhia arise from the Russian Federation’s unjust and unprovoked war against Ukraine, whose reckless actions have demonstrated utter disregard for nuclear safety and security — and raise real fears of a significant radiological, chemical or biological accident in Ukraine. She called on the Russian Federation — and all States — to commit to the seven pillars of nuclear safety and security. Noting that the tenth Review Conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty is under way, she urged Moscow not to violate such essential multilateral instruments upon which collective security depends. Explaining that the Russian Federation seeks to avoid responsibility and distract from what is happening as a result of its war, she urged Moscow to stop using the Council to advance its disinformation campaign. If it is truly concerned about Zaporizhzhia, the Russian Federation should end its illegal occupation of the site and withdraw its troops so that Ukraine, with IAEA, can uphold the obligations for safety and security at the site.
JAMES KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said his delegation is deeply concerned about the impact of the Russian Federation’s illegal invasion of Ukraine, recalling that the Council discussed its reckless actions at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, including at Chernobyl and Zaporizhzhia, at the start of the invasion. He pointed to the 3 March resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors calling on the Russian Federation to cease all actions against and at all nuclear facilities in Ukraine, stressing that Ukraine’s competent authorities and IAEA inspectors are still being prevented from carrying out their essential duties at Zaporizhzhia, which is under the Russian Federation’s control. Stressing that the Russian Federation’s actions have violated almost all seven pillars of nuclear safety and security and that, despite its lies and obfuscation to the Council, he said it is the Russian Federation’s military presence that is placing the plant at risk. He reiterated the call for IAEA inspectors to be allowed access to all nuclear facilities in Ukraine to address nuclear safety, security and safeguard concerns, in a manner that respects Ukraine’s sovereignty over its territory and infrastructure.
ZHANG JUN (China), Security Council President for August, speaking in his national capacity, expressed concern over the attack on the Zaporizhzhia plant, but noted IAEA reported it did not pose an immediate threat to nuclear safety. The radiation level remains normal, but the physical integrity and power supply of the plant were damaged, sounding a nuclear alarm to the international community. The safety of such facilities must not be subjected to trial and error, he stressed. A large-scale incident at the Zaporizhzhia plant — the largest in Europe — would have consequences more devastating than the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant disaster, which leaked radioactive materials and radiated water, with severe consequences for the marine environment. He called on all parties to exercise restraint and act with caution, noting that Mr. Grossi has been planning to visit Zaporizhzhia, and Secretary-General António Guterres has issued an appeal for that purpose. He cited a message from Ukraine to Mr. Grossi and the Secretary-General on 9 August underscoring the necessity of that visit. Expressing hope that any obstacles can be cleared to facilitate that mission without impediment, he noted the Ukraine crisis has been dragging on for over 5 months — and that misjudgement and accidents can only be avoided by defusing the situation and restoring peace. He urged the parties to resume negotiations as soon as possible, addressing their mutual security concerns, and called on the international community to act responsibly, stepping up political and diplomatic efforts.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), taking the floor for a second time, said his Western colleagues once again “refuse to call a spade a spade” — a surreal display of faulty logic, but no surprise. He cited a “war of lies” against his country, executed in a coordinated fashion to blame the Russian Federation for everything, while any blame of Ukraine is refuted — as with incidents in Bucha and Kramatorsk. He asked why references to the Kramatorsk incident have disappeared from the international radar — asserting this was because it involved a Ukrainian Grad rocket with a Ukrainian serial number, which cannot be refuted. Ukraine is using the civilian population as human shields, and deploying heavy artillery in hospitals, schools and kindergartens. He advised Amnesty International to “either say something good, or nothing at all”. Kyiv has carte blanche to commit any crimes, while Member States demonstrate an inability to take responsibility if it does not jibe with their narrow mercantile interests. It is absurd to hear such irresponsibility from grown-up people in the Council, he stated — urging the irrational European political elite to return to common sense and calling on Council colleagues to force the Kyiv regime to stop its strikes on Zaporizhzhia, which is holding Europe hostage. “The responsibility lies with you, ladies and gentlemen,” he stressed.
Noting the Secretary-General has called for the Zaporizhzhia facility to be demilitarized, he asserted that the Russian Federation is not using nuclear facility for that purpose — Ukraine is. Russian Federation forces ensure its protection, repelling Ukrainian attacks day after day and averting a nuclear catastrophe. “We know what the Kyiv regime is capable of, and the world has witnessed that, as well,” he stated. Calling for the withdrawal of Russian Federation troops would expose the plant to Ukrainian and nationalist forces to use it for their most monstrous provocations.
Ms. JENKINS (United States) appealed to the Russian Federation to return control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant to Ukraine, noting that once this is done, the world will see how quickly peace returns to the facility.
Mr. KARIUKI (United Kingdom) said incidents at the nuclear facility have occurred precisely because the Russian Federation has carried out an unjust invasion of Ukraine.
SERGIY KYSLYTSYA (Ukraine) said the withdrawal of Russian troops and the return of the station to the legitimate control of Ukraine is the only way to remove the nuclear threat at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Expressing appreciation for IAEA’s efforts to ensure safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities, he said that his country has been in close consultation with IAEA, has insisted on the need to send a mission to the site and has negotiated modalities with the Agency. “Despite their public declarations, the occupiers have resorted to manipulations and unjustified conditions for the site visit,” he said. Ukraine stands ready to provide the mission with all the requisite assistance and facilitate its travel through Ukrainian-controlled territory. Given the continued militarization of the Zaporizhzhia site by the Russian armed forces, its shelling and subsequent damage of the site, such a mission must include qualified experts in military aspects. Their expertise can contribute significantly to the preparation of the mission’s final report, outlining the military dimensions of the critical threats and challenges, as well as nuclear safety, security and safeguards at the Zaporizhzhia plant.
He went on to say that the Russian Federation’s plans with respect to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is to disconnect Ukraine’s energy system and cut off electricity in the south of the country. He urged the Russian Federation to fully implement the resolution adopted by the IAEA Board of Governors on 3 March regarding the safety, security and safeguards implications in Ukraine, cease all actions against nuclear facilities in the country and return control to Ukraine. The international community must exert political pressure on the Russian Federation and demand the same. Moreover, the Russian Federation must allow the IAEA mission to proceed, demine the facilities of the Zaporizhzhia plant and remove Russian military personnel and withdraw their weaponry.
Mr. NEBENZIA (Russian Federation), on the topic of an IAEA mission, referred to his earlier statement, noting that the Kyiv regime is the only delegation present today that said it was the Russian Federation which shelled the station they controlled in Energodar.
Mr. GROSSI thanked all Council members for their interventions, which he said are important for enhancing the Agency’s understanding. “We recognize the obvious differences that exist,” he observed. At the same time, a common denominator emerged from today’s meeting: everyone agrees that nuclear safety and security must be ensured, everyone supports the seven pillars and believes that an IAEA mission must take place. “It is no longer a matter of if, but a matter of when,” he said, noting that “the how” must be addressed. He said he will intensify his consultations with Ukraine, Russian Federation and the United Nations, through the Department of Safety and Security, to conduct a mission — “which is so badly needed” — after which he would be able to brief on the visit to “support Ukraine in this important hour” and restore complete safety and security around all facilities in the country.
Source: UN Security Council