Russia, Ukraine fail to accept IAEA plan to protect Zaporizhzhya NPP — media reports

31 May, 06:10 PM
ZNPP under the occupation of the Russian Federation during the visit by the IAEA mission September 1-02, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

ZNPP under the occupation of the Russian Federation during the visit by the IAEA mission September 1-02, 2022 (Photo:REUTERS/Alexander Ermochenko)

Neither Russia nor Ukraine committed to respect the five principles laid out by International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Rafael Grossi on May 30 to try to safeguard Ukraine’s Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), Reuters news agency reported.

Grossi has tried for months to craft an agreement to reduce the risk of a catastrophic nuclear accident from military activity, like shelling, at Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant.

Speaking to the U.N. Security Council, his five principles included the following:

·         There should be no attack on or from the plant

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·         No heavy weapons, such as multiple rocket launchers, artillery systems and munitions, and tanks or military personnel should be housed there

·         Off-site power to the plant should remain available and secure

·         All essential systems should be protected from attacks or sabotage

·         No actions should be taken that undermine these principles

“Mr. Grossi’s proposals to ensure the security of the Zaporizhzhya NPP are in line with the measures that we’ve already been implementing for a long time,” Russia’s U.N. Ambassador Vasily Nebenzya said.

Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Sergiy Kyslytsya, said the principles “must be complemented with the demand of full demilitarization and de-occupation of the station.”

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy previously emphasized that the only way to “protect Europe from a nuclear disaster” is to demilitarize the ZNPP.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said in late March that the IAEA had abandoned the idea of a demilitarized zone around the ZNPP. According to the director general, the agency is looking for a “behavioral” rather than a “territorial” solution, which would involve a commitment not to attack the power plant or use it for attacks.

The largest nuclear power plant in Europe — the Zaporizhzhya NPP — was captured by the Russian invaders after fighting in the town of Enerhodar on March 4, 2022. The buildings of the ZNPP were damaged by Russian shelling in several places, and the plant’s employees were taken captive.

Russian troops have set up firing positions at the ZNPP and shell Ukrainian cities from the location, understanding that Ukrainian forces cannot return fire for fear of damaging the plant’s six nuclear reactors.

Invading Russian forces continue to use the ZNPP as a logistical and military base, Ukraine’s Main Intelligence Directorate reported on May 24.

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