Aug 15, 2022 - World

42 countries and EU urge Russia to remove military from nuclear plant

A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant near the Russia-occupied Ukrainian town of Enerhodar in April 2022.
A view of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in the Russia-occupied Ukrainian town of Enerhodar in April. Photo: Ed Jones/AFP via Getty Images

More than 40 countries and the European Union called on Russia on Sunday to withdraw its military personnel and weaponry from Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, saying its presence there is "unacceptable."

Why it matters: Russia has maintained military activity at or near the plant since seizing it in March. Ukraine and Russia have recently accused each other of shelling areas near the facility, which is Europe's largest nuclear power plant.

U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres has repeatedly called for the immediate cessation of military activity near the plant and the removal of military personnel and equipment from the site.

  • Recent shelling damaged a power line and forced one of the plant's three reactors to be disconnected.
  • Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has also condemned the military activity near the plant.

What they're saying: "The presence of Russian military forces at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant prevents the operator and the Ukrainian authorities from fulfilling their nuclear and radiation safety obligations in accordance with international conventions and IAEA safety standards, and prevents the IAEA from fulfilling its safeguards mandate," the 42 countries and EU said in a joint statement Sunday.

  • "We strongly endorse the importance of the fundamental Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security as outlined by IAEA Director General Grossi," they added.
  • "Russia’s control of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant — Europe’s largest nuclear power plant — poses a great danger to these principles. Deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the nuclear facility is unacceptable and disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA have committed to respect."

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