Risk  free Zaporizhia nuclear power plant for now

Risk free Zaporizhia nuclear power plant for now

The ominous situation at the Russian-occupied Zaporizhia nuclear plant in Ukraine occupied the UN Security Council in New York on Thursday. The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Grossi, said that Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which has been shot several times, currently does not pose a safety risk. “However, that could change at any time.” Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebensia, has rejected calls to withdraw troops.

However, the Russian ambassador to the UN pledged Russian support to an international commission of experts to visit the nuclear plant. In Kyiv, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy demanded the immediate withdrawal of Russian troops from the plant and accused Moscow of “nuclear blackmail”. “No one else has obviously used a nuclear power plant to threaten the whole world and impose conditions,” Zelenskyy said in his video speech tonight.

Air alert throughout Ukraine

Airborne alerts were raised twice across Ukraine on Thursday night. The Ukrainian general staff reported fierce fighting in the east of the country, where Russian troops are trying to advance into Donbass. For Ukraine, Friday marks the 170th day of fighting the Russian invasion.

Just hours before the session of the most powerful UN body requested by Russia, Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant was attacked again. According to occupation authorities, shots were fired from places under Ukrainian control. Ukrainian company Enerhoatom reported ten impacts nearby. The information could not be verified. Previously, Ukraine accused Russia of attacking the nuclear power plant.

Specialists should check

Before the Security Council, Grossi asked Moscow and Kyiv to quickly allow international experts to visit. “Personally, I am ready to lead such a mission.” Without the physical presence of IAEA representatives, important facts could not be collected. The US also pushed for an expert tour: “This visit can’t wait any longer,” said Under Secretary for Gun Control Bonnie Jenkins.

Nebensja agreed to cooperate. However, he questioned Kiev’s willingness to allow such a mission. The ambassador also rejected requests for the demilitarization of the plant, as had been raised by the UN Secretary General, António Guterres, among others. This makes the nuclear plant susceptible to provocations and acts of terrorism, Nebensja said.

There are also safety concerns ahead of a possible specialist trip. “We are talking about a nuclear power plant in the middle of a battlefield,” said UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric. Zelenskyy demanded that the world work to ensure that Russian troops left the nuclear plant. Only when Ukraine regains control of Zaporizhia will there be nuclear security for all of Europe. The plant on the Dnipro River has six 1,000-megawatt Soviet-designed VVER reactors.

Ukraine is making progress

According to the Ukrainian General Staff, Russian troops in Donbass, in the east of the country, continued to try to advance under cover of heavy artillery fire. Fighter planes were also used. The attacks were mainly directed against the cities of Bakhmut and Avdiivka. Ukrainian troops have made progress, the Ukrainian General Staff said. “The enemy managed to advance partially towards Horliwka – Zaitseve.” The town of Horlivka, north of Donetsk, has been controlled by pro-Russian separatists since 2014. Now, the heavily fortified Ukrainian positions north of the town in Donbass have apparently been overrun.

Fighting was also reported in Donetsk and south of the Bakhmut transport hub, which forms part of the defensive wall around the last Kyiv-controlled conurbation of Donbass, Sloviansk-Kramatorsk. In both cases, according to Ukrainian sources, fighting continues while being repulsed elsewhere. Reports cannot be independently verified. Air raid alarms were set off twice across Ukraine on Thursday night, with no reports of Russian bombs hitting the area.

Zelenskyy demands secrecy

In his speech, President Zelenskyy urged all officials to maintain secrecy. You must refrain from commenting on the military situation so as not to jeopardize operations. He thanked the €1.5 billion in military aid pledged at a conference of supporting countries in Copenhagen. The money goes to weapons and training Ukrainian soldiers.

The heads of Moscow’s security apparatus discussed a new rapprochement with the pro-Russian breakaway republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine on Thursday. The meeting on behalf of President Vladimir Putin took place in Luhansk, as announced by Deputy Secretary of the Security Council and former President Dmitry Medvedev. Among the participants from Moscow were Interior Minister Vladimir Kolokoltsev, secret service chief Alexander Bortnikov and deputy head of the Presidential Cabinet Sergei Kiriyenko. Medvedev wrote that discussions were held on aligning the laws of the People’s Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk with Russian legislation. It was also about the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure. (pa/ed)