Photo by the Permanent Mission of Russia to the United Nations
Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC briefing regarding the attacks of Ukrainian armed forces on the Zaporozhye NPP (agenda item "Threats to international peace and security"). Key points:
- We repeatedly warned our Western colleagues that if they do not call the Kiev regime to reason, it will go for most atrocious and reckless actions that will have implications far beyond the Ukrainian borders. Unfortunately, this is what we see happening now. Heinous attacks by Kiev against nuclear facilities push the world onto the brink of a nuclear disaster, the scope of which would be comparable to that of the Chernobyl tragedy.
- Lately, Ukrainian armed forces have used heavy artillery and multiple launch rocket systems against the biggest nuclear power plant in Europe – the Zaporozhye NPP. Those attacks pose a direct threat to safety and security of the plant.
- Developments at the ZNPP these days are the climax of Kiev's criminal actions against nuclear infrastructure and personnel servicing nuclear facilities. For months, those actions have been left without any international reaction.
- From April to July, Kiev has committed a number of provocations against the ZNPP with the help of combat UAVs, i.a. of Polish manufacture. Part of them could be downed. Another part – explosive-laden drones – detonated in the vicinity of critical infrastructure. Only by a lucky chance this did not interfere with the routine operation of the plant.
- On 4 March, Western states already called a Security Council meeting regarding the situation around the ZNPP, during which they tried to present a sabotage by Ukrainian forces – setting a nearby training center on fire – as a result of actions by Russian military, even though the plant was under their full control at that moment. Back then, USG DiCarlo said that attacks on nuclear facilities violated international humanitarian law. British representative said that international law called for special protection of nuclear facilities. US representative said that the world had avoided a nuclear disaster only by the grace of God, that attacking the NPP had been an irresponsible step, that conflicts must never affect nuclear facilities. French representative said that safety and security of the NPP had to be maintained. Are you ready to repeat this now and address it to the Ukrainian side? Are you ready to call on Kiev to stop the bombardments?
- From the very start, we supported the IAEA efforts aimed at ensuring safety and security of Ukrainian nuclear facilities. The seven principles articulated by Director-General Grossi were supposed to become the basis for a trilateral document to be elaborated by Russia, Ukraine, and the IAEA. We were being flexible and agreed to have this arrangement as two parallel agreements – Russia-IAEA and Ukraine-IAEA.
- However, Kiev rejected this without providing any intelligible reasons why. Actually, those are easy to guess. When doing this, Kiev already plotted to disturb the normal functioning of the Zaporozhye and Chernobyl NPPs and accuse Russia of it.
- We engaged closely with the IAEA to solve a multitude of complicated issues to make this arrangement, which is far not easy in current circumstances. However at the very last moment, the Department of Safety and Security of the UN Secretariat turned on “the red light”, which undermined the trip. The Kiev authorities were quick to use this development in order to intensify their provocations and shelling of the ZNPP.
- We are convinced that cancellation of an international mission played in the hands of the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors who had been initially opposed to that visit. They did not want the IAEA to make sure that the Zaporozhye plant functioned routinely and that the working environment among the personnel was normal.
- Still we trust that IAEA experts will visit the ZNPP soon, and hope that in the current situation, the UN Secretary-General will be fully aware of his responsibility and will not interfere with this mission through a department of the UN Secretariat that is accountable to him or through other parts of the UN mechanism.
- It is unacceptable that the IAEA mission should take place against the backdrop of incessant shelling of the power plant and the city of Energodar by Ukrainian armed forces. Kiev must stop the shelling now and guarantee that it is not going to put the lives and health of international personnel at risk.
- We call on the states that support the Kiev regime to check their proteges, make them stop attacking the ZNPP and residents of Energodar once and for all, as well as ensure safe working conditions for an IAEA mission.
- We urge the top officials of the United Nations and IAEA to demonstrate their leadership and global responsibility and indicate clearly and without diplomatic courtesies the real source of the threat to the safety and security of the ZNPP, which is strikes by Ukrainian armed forces, and also tell Ukrainian authorities that such actions are unacceptable.
- This is the only way to prevent a major radioactive disaster on the European continent, the risk of which is real today as never before. If the attacks by the UAF continue, this may happen at any moment.
- Then the Kiev, Zaporozhye, Kharkov, Poltava, Kherson, Odessa, Nikolaev. Kirovograd, and Vinnitsa regions of Ukraine, as well as territories of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Lugansk, and adjacent territories of Russia and Belarus, as well as Moldova, Bulgaria and Romania will be exposed to risks of radioactive contamination.
- And this is the most optimistic outcome that experts can predict, whereas the real scale of a nuclear disaster at the Zaporozhye power plant is hard to even imagine. In such case, the entire responsibility for that will befall Kiev’s Western sponsors.
- Representative of the Kiev regime was the only one today who claimed that Russia is bombarding the Zaporozhye NPP, a facility that is under the Russian control, and the city of Energodar, which is home to the personnel of the NPP. I want to draw your attention to this claim by the Ukrainian side for the record.
- Colleagues, we urge you to convey to your leaders that they need to influence the Kiev regime and make it stop its reckless shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP. Basically, those bombardments are taking residents of European states as hostages, and the responsibility for that rests upon you.
- Russia does not use civilian infrastructure, to say nothing of nuclear facilities, for military purposes. This is the tactic of Ukrainian armed forces who set up combat positions in the vicinity of civilian objects and use civilians as a human shield.
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