Russia Calls UN Security Council to Discuss Nuclear Emergency In Zaporozhye, Ukraine

Russia Calls UN Security Council to Discuss Nuclear Emergency In Zaporozhye, Ukraine
Russia Calls UN Security Council to Discuss Nuclear Emergency In Zaporozhye, Ukraine

Moscow - Russia summoned an emergency session of the UN Security Council to discuss the situation at Ukraine's Zaporozhye nuclear power plant. The nuclear power plant was the target of regular shooting attacks.

Moscow wants the head of the UN nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), to inform the UN Security Council of the situation. The move, which Russian media reported on Tuesday (9/8/2022), was confirmed by the deputy head of Russia's mission to the United Nations, Dmitry Polyansky, who said the public needed to learn about the "Ukrainian provocation." The meeting is expected to take place on Thursday (11/8/2022).

Russia says Ukraine is responsible for a series of drone and artillery attacks on nuclear sites. The latest shooting was reported last weekend. Kiev denies the allegations and claims Russia has opened fire on the facility itself to discredit Ukraine.

The Kiev National Security Council also accused Moscow of using the nuclear power plant as a military base, storing heavy weapons and personnel there.

The IAEA has not had access to the site since before the Russia-Ukraine conflict escalated in late February and relies on reports from Ukraine to assess the situation on the ground. The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is manned by Ukrainian nuclear workers even though it is under Russian control.

On Saturday, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi expressed the IAEA's concern over the artillery strikes, saying they underlined the "very real risk of a nuclear disaster that could threaten public health and the environment in Ukraine and beyond." "I condemn any acts of violence committed in or near the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant or against its staff," he said.

Grossi is expected to lead facility inspections for an independent assessment of the situation and verification that non-proliferation protections remain in place. The Zaporozhye nuclear power plant is the largest in Europe and stores tens of tons of enriched uranium and plutonium in its reactor core and spent fuel storage, according to the IAEA.

The head of the watchdog had previously said he feared the safety of radioactive materials could be compromised amid Russian-Ukrainian hostilities. Both Kiev and Moscow said they were eager for the proposed inspection to be carried out. However, it has not materialized due to security concerns. Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday it was in Kiev's hands to delay it by allowing it to continue its provocative attacks.

Moscow asked UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to increase his powers to expedite the visit of the IAEA. "The United Nations Department of Safety and Security acted irresponsibly by postponing the visit," Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in an interview on Wednesday.

Guterres last week said, "Any attack on a nuclear plant is a suicidal thing." Russian diplomats and military officials say an attack on the Zaporozhye power plant could result in a disaster worse than the Chernobyl reactor crash and the 1986 explosion.

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