Diplomatic efforts to remove Russian troops from Zaporizhzhya NPP fail so far, energy minister says

6 March, 01:09 PM
The ZNPP has been under the occupation of the Russia since March 4, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

The ZNPP has been under the occupation of the Russia since March 4, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Diplomatic efforts to bring Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant or ZNPP back under government control have so far been unsuccessful, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said on Ukrainian national television on March 5.

“The situation has reached a stalemate,” Halushchenko said.

“Our position that we voice at all international platforms is that any negotiations on ZNPP should be based on the following: first, demilitarization of the plant, second, withdrawal of Rosatom employees from ZNPP,” the minister said.

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“Third, Ukrainian personnel should be able to operate the nuclear facility calmly, without pressure. But in response to this, we received (Russian dictator Vladimir) Putin’s worthless decree that ZNPP is ‘federal’ property, with the registration of the relevant company in Moscow called Zaporizhzhya station.”

Halushchenko added that Ukraine had received alarming signals from the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) mission working at ZNPP that the Russians were behaving highly unprofessionally at the plant.

“The IAEA mission confirms that the Russians are operating the plant in such a way that the state of the equipment and facilities at ZNPP is deteriorating significantly,” the minister said.

“It seems that one of the invaders’ goals is to leave it (plant) to us non-operational after de-occupation.”

ZNPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe and has been occupied by Russian forces since March 4. Several ZNPP facilities have been damaged by Russian shelling, and the station’s employees are captives of the invading troops.

Russian troops have set up firing positions at the territory of the ZNPP and are shelling Ukrainian cities from there. Ukraine’s nuclear operator Energoatom reported that the Russian military placed at least 14 units of heavy military vehicles, loaded with ammunition, weapons and explosives in one of the turbine halls at ZNPP.

The IAEA confirmed the presence of heavy military vehicles at the plant when it visited the site at the end of August last year.

It has since established a permanent monitoring presence at the facility and called for a demilitarized safety zone to be established around the plant.

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