After a Further Attack, the Un Chief Calls for Access to Ukraine’s Nuclear Facility!
International inspectors should be given access to the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after Ukraine and Russia traded accusations over the shelling of the facility in recent days, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.
Any attack on a nuclear plant “is a suicidal thing,” Guterres told a news conference in Japan.
More broadly, Guterres said he is “very worried that we might have a prolonged war” in Ukraine that could have “a very negative impact on the global economy and in the living conditions, especially of the most vulnerable people.”
Guterres said the United Nations has been working with Turkey on the possible start of peace negotiations between Russia and Ukraine but that the effort is stymied by the complexity of the conflict.
“The difficult thing in relation to a cease-fire comes from a simple fact: Ukraine cannot accept a situation in which its territory is taken by another country,” Guterres said, “and the Russian Federation does not seem ready to accept that the areas that Russian forces have taken will not be annexed by the Russian Federation or give way to newly independent states.”
Ukraine’s ambassador to the United Nations, Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk, said employees at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear complex are “working under the barrels of Russian guns.”
Tsymbaliuk asked in Vienna that the nuclear facility be made a demilitarised zone to avoid a disaster like the one in Chornobyl. He said that Russian forces are trying to shut down power in the south of Ukraine, where fighting is very bad, by shelling the nuclear facility.
In his daily video address on Monday night, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy called for new Western sanctions against Russia’s nuclear industry “for creating the threat of a nuclear disaster.”
Meanwhile, Russia claimed that Ukrainian forces hit the site with multiple rocket launchers, damaging administrative buildings, and a storage area. The Russian Foreign Ministry accused Kyiv of attempting to “take Europe hostage” by shelling the plant.
Tsymbaliuk said, “If something happens, so there will be huge consequences not only for Ukraine, probably all Ukraine will be contaminated but for Europe as well.”
Tsymbaliuk said Kyiv would use all the diplomatic channels it can to allow an international mission to the plant.
The Russian news agency RIA Novosti said that Moscow is ready to help the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) visit the plant in Zaporizhzhia.
In the most recent attack on the nuclear plant on Saturday night, Russian forces broke three radiation sensors and hurt a worker with shrapnel, according to Ukraine’s state nuclear power firm.
The plant, in Russian-controlled territory, was also attacked Friday. Moscow has blamed Ukrainian forces for the strikes.
Russia took over the Zaporizhzhia plant at the start of its invasion of Ukraine in March. However, Ukrainian technicians still run the plant.
The Ukrainian nuclear company Energoatom said Russian rocket attacks Saturday hit a storage facility, where 174 containers with spent nuclear fuel were kept in the open.
“Consequently, timely detection and response in the event of a deterioration in the radiation situation or leakage of radiation from containers of spent nuclear fuel are not yet possible,” it said.
The Russian-installed government in occupied Enerhodar, where the workers of the plant live, said that Ukraine was hit with a 220-mm Uragan multiple rocket launcher system.
“The administrative buildings and the adjacent territory of the storage facility were damaged,” it said.
After Friday’s first attack, the head of the IAEA said that the shelling showed that there was a chance of a nuclear disaster. These shells hit a high-voltage power line, which caused the plant’s operators to shut down a reactor even though there was no sign of a radioactive leak.
In the meantime, a ship carrying grains from Ukraine to Turkey has arrived. It is the first ship to reach its destination as part of a deal to get grain supplies moving again.
Dmytro Kuleba, the foreign minister of Ukraine, tweeted, “If Russia keeps to its obligations, the “grain corridor” will continue to keep food security around the world.”
Two more ships will leave Ukrainian ports on Tuesday to go through the maritime humanitarian corridor set up as part of the grain deal made by the UN and Turkey.
In total, 12 ships have now been authorized to sail under the agreement.