The United States continues to urge the implementation of the internationally recognized nuclear safety and security standards at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, seized by Russian forces on March 4th.
“We support continued, unhindered, and safe [International Atomic Energy Agency, or] IAEA access to the facility,” said U.S. Ambassador Jeffrey DeLaurentis, Senior Advisor for Special Political Affairs at the United Nations. “To that end, it is essential that Russia allow Ukrainian operators to implement any and all measures the IAEA team and Ukrainian operators deem important for the safe and secure operation of the plant to decrease the risk of a nuclear incident.”
The United States supports Ukraine’s call for the demilitarization of the area surrounding the Zaporizhzhia facility. “Russia has no right to expose the world to unnecessary risk and the possibility of nuclear catastrophe,” declared Ambassador DeLaurentis.
Every armed conflict in or around the plant, which seem to be occurring almost daily, increases the risk of a nuclear incident. Recent shelling in the area once again led to the disconnection of an external power line, putting at risk the plant’s safe operations. Ambassador DeLaurentis “urge(ed) Russia to end all military operations at or near Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and to return full control to Ukraine.”
“The plant and the electricity it produces belong to Ukraine. Any attempt by Russia to disconnect the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant from Ukraine and redirect the power it generates toward Russia would be highly provocative, selfish, and short-sighted,” warned Ambassador DeLaurentis. “We reject all efforts by Russia to use Ukraine’s electric grid as a pawn in this unjustified war and Ukraine’s nuclear power plant as a military shield or deployment site.”
“The Russian Federation must end its reckless behavior and immediately withdraw its troops, not only from the area surrounding Zaporizhzhia, but from all of Ukraine,” urged Ambassador DeLaurentis.
As the toll of this conflict on civilians grows ever higher, it is time for Russia to silence its guns, withdraw from Ukraine, and embrace diplomacy. It is incumbent on Russia to respect Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, as the UN Charter requires.