The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has passed a resolution calling for Russia to leave the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, with IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi stating that, “a nuclear power plant can never be a pawn of war. Its fate must not be decided by military means. The consequences are far too grave.”
As the nuclear watchdog of the United Nations, the IAEA’s board of 35 countries also seeks to set-up a long-term presence at the plant and a demilitarized zone around the plant in an attempt to stabilize the fragile situation and avert nuclear disaster. Of the 35 countries, Russia and China were the only ones who voted no on the resolution.
Director General Grossi also stated, “This situation is untenable, and we are playing with fire. We cannot continue this situation where we are one step away from a nuclear accident. The safety of Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is hanging by a thread.”
We previously reported in July that the Russian takeover of the ZNPP would quickly turn volatile and it has. Russia is holding the largest nuclear power plant in Europe hostage. And despite the potential for irreversible nuclear damage, The Kremlin is placing the blame on those trying to get them out of the nuclear power plant.
“I saw that the IAEA report [on the ZNPP] says that the IAEA deems it necessary to remove military hardware from the station’s territory,” said Putin. “But there is no military hardware on the territory of the station… if you want, it is possible to bring anyone there, including journalists, among them European and American journalists, even tomorrow.”
However, when IAEA was finally allowed to visit the plant, they weren’t allowed to bring journalists with them. When they had planned a route into the plant for their visit, Russia then conveniently started bombing along the route, delaying the trip.
Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolay Patrushev stated, “The attacks on the critical infrastructure of the ZNPP Ukrainian nationalists are conducting by means of heavy weapons… these provocations have catastrophic consequences not only for the majority of the population in Ukraine and Russia but also for Europe, and may exceed the tragedies at the Chernobyl and Fukushima nuclear power plants by their scale.”
Following this up, Kremlin Chief Spokesperson Dmitry Peskov, “The pullout of forces [from ZNPP] is not on the current agenda.”
So it’s clear that Russian military leadership knows the scale of the destruction that could result from their dangerous move with ZNPP, it’s just that they don’t care. To them, showing “strength” with this egregious invasion is more important than nuclear catastrophe. The only way to neutralize the threat is for Russia to leave the plant, but instead they sit there, playing a blame game while sitting on a time bomb.