Kiev continues shelling of Zaporozyhe nuclear plant — to stop IAEA inspection?

From Strategic Stability

Report # 133. Kiev still shells ZNPP on the eve of the IAEA visit. To cancel it again?

August, 27, 2022

1. Ukraine still adheres to “nuclear terrorism”

The Russian Ministry of Defense (MoD) has stated that the Kiev regime continued to engage in “nuclear terrorism” by targeting the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), firing long-range artillery projectiles at the territory of the facility located in the heart of Europe.

Unfortunately, such dangerous and barbaric actions are still continued by president Zelensky without any interruption despite the debates devoted to the issue at two emergency meetings at the UN Security Council meetings held on August 11 and 23, 2022 [see previous Reports for additional details].

“Over the last 24 hours, artillery units of the Armed Forces of Ukraine have shelled the territory of the ZNPP three times. A total of 17 shells were fired, four of which hit the roof of special building No. 1, where 168 assemblies with American nuclear fuel from the Westinghouse [Electric Corporation] company are stored,” the Russian MoD said.

The Ministry added that “another 10 shells exploded 30 meters away from the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel, and three more projectiles detonated in the area of special building No. 2, which houses the fresh nuclear fuel storage unit of the TVEL nuclear fuel company and the storage of solid radioactive waste.

The Russian MoD also noted that Ukrainian sheeling was arranged again from the city of Marganets, located in Dnepropetrovsk Region, still controlled by the ultra-Nazi regimes entrenched in Kiev.

One U.S. howitzer М777 that fired at ZNPP was destroyed by Russian troops there.

The local authorities reported that in the morning on Saturday August 27 Ukrainian troops had launched 20 artillery strikes on the city of Energodar, including five on the ZNPP’s territory directly.

At the same time monitoring of the technical condition of the ZNPP and ensuring its functioning is carried out by regular technical personnel. The Russian special military formation protects the external perimeter of the nuclear plant. There are no heavy weapons in the area of the NPP”, the Russian MoD said.

2. Does the USA see any profits in arming Ukraine?

On August 7, a documentary film entitled “Arming Ukraine” was presented at the Internet resource of the American TV channel CBS. In a few hours, the picture gained over 250 thousand viewers. Several thousand viewers left their comments. Many were outraged by the information about the disappearance of up to 70 percent of the weapons sent to Kiev, purchased by the current U.S. administration at the expense of taxpayers. The audience reacted with indignation watching the video in which a cache of Western weapons is located in a Ukrainian residential building, which is a violation of the rules of war and explains the facts of attacks on city blocks, which are presented by the Kiev regime as evidence of alleged Moscow’s “cruelty”. Many comments stressed the need to organize reliable control over arms supplies to Ukraine from the Western countries nowadays totaling nearly 50, including 30 members of NATO.

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U.S. stole 82% of Syria’s daily oil production in 2022; humanitarian crisis


From Xinhua

August 17, 2022

DAMASCUS, Aug. 16 (Xinhua) — The U.S. forces have stolen 398 tankers of Syrian oil since Thursday and sent them to its bases in Iraq, Syrian state news agency SANA reported on Tuesday.

SANA reported that the U.S. sent 65 oil tankers from Syria to Iraq on Tuesday through the al-Mahmoudiyeh crossing, an illegal route established to send oil tankers from Syria into Iraq.

Recently, the U.S. is sending oil tankers into Iraq on daily basis from Syria’s northeastern province of Hasakah, it added.

The U.S. forces, which have taken control of key oil and gas fields in Hasakah with the help of local Kurdish rebels, regularly smuggle the fuels out of Syria.

On Saturday and Thursday, a convoy of 89 and 144 tankers respectively loaded with stolen oil was sent to the U.S. bases in Iraq through the same crossing, it added.

The incident is part of America’s ongoing violations of international principles and their involvement in plundering the natural resources of other nations and starving their peoples, noted SANA.

The Syrian government has accused the U.S. of stealing the natural resources in Syria, such as oil, gas, and wheat.

On Aug. 8, the Syrian Oil Ministry said in a statement that the U.S. and its mercenaries are stealing an average of 66,000 barrels of oil per day in Syria, about 80 percent of Syria’s oil production.

The prolonged crisis has cost Syria’s oil industry direct and indirect losses of 105 billion U.S. dollars, according to the statement.

From the CCTV video

Video of oil convoys with article

Briefing by Russian Foreign Ministry on Ukraine and Zaporozhye, August 18

From the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation
August 18, 2022


Update on Donbass and Ukraine

The special military operation continues in Ukraine and Donbass. Its goals and tasks of protecting the DPR and the LPR, demilitarising and de-Nazifying Ukraine and neutralising threats to Russia’s security will be achieved. The allied forces of Russia and the Donbass republics are doing all they can to avoid civilian casualties and fire only on military targets and only with precision weapons.

People are restoring peaceful life in liberated areas. They are being cleared of explosive ordnance. Over 17,000 hectares of land have been checked. More than 500,000 mines and unexploded ordnance have been detected and defused. Housing and critical infrastructure is being built or restored. Residents of Ukraine and Donbass have received over 56,000 tonnes of Russian humanitarian aid since early March.

In the meantime, the Kiev regime continues demonstrating criminal indifference to the lives of civilians. Ukrainian troops and neo-Nazi groups are resorting to unacceptable methods of warfare, using civilians as a human shield. They are organising fighting positions in schools and kindergartens and shelling educational institutions in liberated areas, which looks particularly cynical on the eve of the new academic year.

However, obvious cases of nuclear terrorism are the worst and most irresponsible steps. Since mid-July, Ukrainian units have been shelling the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant and adjacent territories, including the city of Energodar, on a daily basis. At first, the Ukrainians attacked the plant with drones and later they started firing on it with US-supplied multiple rocket launchers and heavy 155mm guns. Residents of not only Ukraine but many other European countries may pay the price for Kiev’s actions. It is necessary to compel Ukrainian units to stop shelling to prevent a nuclear disaster.

We expect IAEA experts to visit the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant very soon. Their visit was fully coordinated in June of this year but sabotaged by the leadership of the UN Secretariat. Experts should see for themselves the criminal conduct of the Kiev regime. Kiev has demonstrated many times its ability to stage provocations and its inability to control nationalist groups. Any proposals to create a demilitarised zone around the plant are unacceptable for this reason. That would only make the nuclear power plant more vulnerable.

We would like to draw your attention to the cases of illegal detention of Russian citizens on Ukrainian territory. This is what happened with over 60 Russian sailors. They have been kept on trade vessels in Izmail for almost half a year. Despite our repeated appeals, Kiev keeps them as hostages, apparently regarding them as its “exchange fund.”  The parallel with terrorist actions is obvious. We raised this issue before the heads of the UN and International Committee of the Red Cross and expect them to take practical steps to secure the release of the Russian citizens.

Last week we spoke about the use of Petal mines by the Ukrainian armed forces in violation of the Kiev-ratified Ottawa Convention. This time, we would like to draw your attention to 50 EMP F2 anti-tank French mines that were detected at the positions abandoned by the Ukrainian troops neat Artyomovsk. It is impossible to remove or defuse these mines once they are armed. Their use is a flagrant violation of Protocol II on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Mines, Booby-Traps and Other Devices. It is part of the 1980 Geneva Convention on prohibitions or restrictions on the use of certain weapons with indiscriminate effects. We regret that the “democratic” West supports the criminal Kiev regime and is flooding it with arms, thereby sharing responsibility for the war crimes being committed.

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Putin Warns Macron of ‘Large-Scale Catastrophe’ at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Plant
August 19 press release on President Putin’s conversation with President Macron

Putin wants IAEA mission to visit the power plant “as soon as possible”

From Global Research

By Connor Freeman
August 19, 2022

With rising tensions and continued shelling at Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and nearby areas, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have discussed the need to send UN monitors to assess the besieged facility. Both Ukraine and Russia have accused each other of planning provocations and false flags at the site, amid dire warnings of a possible nuclear catastrophe at Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

After a call between Putin and Macron on Friday, their first in three months, the Kremlin issued a statement reiterating the Russian offer to provide security for an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission. The statement said that Moscow “confirmed its readiness to provide the [IAEA] inspectors with the necessary assistance.”

Putin also emphasized that Ukraine’s shelling at the plant could cause a “large-scale catastrophe,” telling Macon that inspectors should visit the ZNPP “as soon as possible.” The French readout of the call said the two leaders “will speak about this subject again in the next few days following discussions between the technical teams and before the deployment of the mission.”

While Ukraine asserts that Russian forces are attacking the ZNPP, Moscow has controlled the plant and surrounding areas since March, giving it little reason to risk a major nuclear incident that would imperil ethnic Russians under its protection in the Zaporizhzhia oblast.

Though Russia controls the plant, it is still run by Ukrainian operators. Moreover, Russia has voiced ever-greater concern over the situation, calling for independent inspectors to review evidence they say will prove who is responsible for attacks at the site. For weeks, the area has seen frequent shelling, and a Russian-backed official in the oblast recently accused Kiev of attacking the power plant repeatedly with US-provided M777 howitzers. On Friday, Moscow submitted a letter to the UN Security Council warning of Kiev’s planned “provocations” at the ZNPP.

Ukraine’s Energoatom state nuclear company claims Moscow plans to switch off the functioning power blocks at the plant, cut it off from Ukraine’s power grid and reconnect it to the Russian grid in an attempt to deprive the country of a major power source. Petro Kotin, the head of Energoatom, told Reuters that decoupling and reconnecting the plant is a “technically difficult process,” and noted the Russian military is looking for diesel to keep the nuclear fuel cooling systems working once the external power supply is cut. While there are back-up diesel generators at the site, it remains unclear if the supplies are sufficient. Igor Kirillov, a Russian Defense Ministry official, said the ZNPP’s back-up support systems had been damaged as a result of attacks and might have to be shut down.

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Evidence of Ukrainian shelling of Zaporozhye provided to UN

From RT

August 23, 2022

The Russian envoy briefed the Security Council on recent attacks on the nuclear plant and submitted photos

Russia has submitted photographic evidence of Ukrainian attacks on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant to the UN Security Council and the General Assembly, ambassador Vassily Nebenzia said on Tuesday. He also briefed the Security Council on the most recent attacks, some of which involved NATO-supplied weapons, and insisted that Russia does not use the site as a military base.

“Despite the false statements of the Kiev regime and its backers, Russia has not placed heavy weapons on the territory of the ZNPP and does not use the station for military purposes,” Nebenzia said during the council’s emergency session on Tuesday afternoon.

The Russian Ministry of Defense is ready to provide the IAEA with high-resolution images, which show that weapons, especially heavy ones, are not placed on the territory of the station,” he added.

In addition to the photographic evidence of Ukrainian shelling of the plant, Nebenzia entered into the record a timeline of strikes, named the Ukrainian artillery unit involved, and specified which strikes featured M777 howitzers given to Ukraine by the Pentagon.

It seems that our colleagues exist in some kind of their own parallel reality, in which the Russian military shells the NPP it is protecting, using American systems at that,” Nebenzia said.

Contrary to insinuations by Kiev and its Western backers, Nebenzia noted, Moscow had given assent to the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit the Zaporozhye NPP back in June, before the Ukrainian drone, artillery and rocket attacks began. 

Nebenzia blamed the US and its allies for tolerating “criminal” behavior by Ukraine – from the shelling of the Zaporozhye NPP to the car bomb that killed Russian journalist Darya Dugina in Moscow over the weekend, and was cheered by some NATO officials he mentioned by name.

The Zaporozhye plant is located in Energodar, a city in southern Ukraine under the control of Russian troops since March. The plant’s civilian staff continued operations unhindered until the artillery attacks began in July. Kiev has denied responsibility for the attacks and accused Russia of shelling the nuclear site to discredit Ukraine, but also of placing troops and heavy weapons inside the NPP’s perimeter and thus making it a legitimate target. 

The US and its allies used the meeting to demand Russia withdraw from the plant, accuse Moscow of a plot to “steal Ukrainian electricity,” and demand the immediate end of all military operations in ukraine.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi said on Tuesday he will personally head the mission to the ZNPP in the coming days, and that the UN nuclear watchdog intends to establish a permanent presence on site.

The U.S. and UK are plundering nations

From RT

Colonialism 2.0: How US and UK take what they want from ‘lesser powers’

By Daniel Kovalik

In the name of sanctions, geopolitical interests or the so-called “rules-based order”, colonial powers do what they do best – plunder those they see as weak and insubordinate

There is an old joke which still has resonance. A child asks his parent, “Why are there pyramids in Egypt?” The parent answers, “Because they were too big to take to Britain.”  Of course, many a true word is spoken in jest. Indeed, there is an apocryphal story that back in the day when Vladimir Lenin was in exile in London, he would enjoy taking friends to the British Museum and explaining to them how and from what far-flung lands all the antiquities there were stolen.

One might have thought that these days of colonial plunder had ended, but one would be very wrong. Current examples abound. A notable one is, of course, the freezing by the US of $7 billion from the Afghanistan treasury – monies the US continues to hold even as it watches Afghans begin to die from starvation. Apparently, the US believes that, after laying waste to Afghanistan through 20 years of war and, even before that by supporting the mujahideen terrorists, it is entitled to some compensation. This upside-down type of reasoning abounds in the minds of those in the West who simply believe they can take whatever they wish.

Similarly, the US is now plundering Syria – another country utterly devastated in no small part by Washington-backed militants in a campaign to overthrow the elected president – of most of its oil, even as Syria suffers from severe energy blackouts. Thus, according to the Syrian Oil Ministry“US occupation forces and their mercenaries,” referring to the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), “steal up to 66,000 barrels every single day from the fields occupied in the eastern region,” amounting to around 83 percent of Syria’s daily oil production.

According to the ministry’s data, the Syrian oil sector has incurred losses of “about $105 billion since the beginning of the war until the middle of this year” as a result of the US oil theft campaign.

Additionally, the statement added that alongside the financial losses incurred by the oil sector were “losses of life, including 235 martyrs, 46 injured and 112 kidnapped.”

One of the biggest heists the US has carried out is against Russia. After the launch of Russia’s military operation in Ukraine, the US seized an incredible $300 billion of Russian treasury funds which were deposited abroad. This was done, of course, without any due process, and to the great detriment of the Russian people – and with barely a critical word from Western pundits.

The US treatment of Venezuela abounds with other examples. As I write these words, the US is maneuvering to seize a commercial 747 airliner from Venezuela on the grounds that it once belonged to an Iranian airline which had some connection to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (which Washington has designated as terrorists) – which might sound like a tenuous justification, but the US really needs no reason. And this is simply the tip of the iceberg. The US has already seized Venezuela’s biggest single source of revenue – its US-based oil company CITGO – and is now in the process of selling off this company in pieces, even as Washington lifts restrictions on Venezuelan oil to shore up its own economy. The UK, meanwhile, has decided to keep over $1 billion in gold which Venezuela naively deposited in the Bank of England for safe-keeping. To add insult to injury, the US continues to criticize Venezuela for the hardships its people endure as a direct consequence of this plunder.

Meanwhile, the US continues to persecute Colombian businessman Alex Saab for trying to obtain food and medicine for the Venezuelan people , denied such amenities by US sanctions. Saab was captured at the behest of the US in Cabo Verde in 2020 as he was flying to Iran to negotiate a deal for humanitarian supplies, including medicine to confront the coronavirus pandemic, on a mission he was employed to perform by Caracas. Saab has since been removed to a federal prison in Miami, Florida, despite the lack of an extradition treaty between the US and Cabo Verde, and he continues to languish in prison as the wheels of US “justice” turn at a snail’s pace to resolve his case. In short, not only has the US freely stolen from Venezuela, but it is also going to great lengths to stop those who try to acquire the basic necessities for the Venezuelan people.

All of this illustrates that colonial habits die hard, and the US is always ready to turn to the tried and trusted traditions of plunder – whether to dig itself out of one of the worst economic crises in years, or to coerce other nations to serve its own geopolitical interests. The fact that the US is allowed to get away with this demonstrates that in the Washington-imposed “rules-based order” rule of law is nothing but a tool employed by the mighty to keep the weak down.

Daniel Kovalik teaches International Human Rights at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and is author of the recently-released No More War: How the West Violates International Law by Using “Humanitarian” Intervention to Advance Economic and Strategic Interests.
Video of oil convoy with article

Russian soldiers hospitalized with severe biological poisoning — bioweapon Botulinum toxin Type B; Kiev continues using civilians as human shields

From Strategic Stability

Report 129. Kiev used CWA against Russian troops — REVISED

August 20, 2022

1. Third type of Ukrainian terrorism – – nowadays a “biological terrorism”

Russian soldiers in Ukraine hospitalized with severe biological poisoning by AFU. Traces of the Botulinum toxin Type B have been discovered in the troops, Russian Defense Ministry says on August 20, 2022.

Botulinum toxin as combat warfare agent or CWA, often called the “miracle poison,” is one of the most toxic biological substances known to science. Produced by the Clostridium botulinum bacteria, it blocks the release of the acetylcholine neurotransmitter, causing muscle paralysis.

Botulinum toxin poses a major threat as a bioweapon due its ease of production and distribution, and the high fatality rate resulting from poisoning. Recovery is only possible after a lengthy period of intensive care.

It is an “organic poison of artificial origin.” It has been discovered in samples taken from the servicemen, the Russian MoD said, accusing Kiev of conducting earlier “chemical terrorism, and in later case “biological terrorism.”

The Russian troops were “hospitalized with signs of severe poisoning” after being stationed near the village of Vasilyevka in Zaporozhye Region on July 31, the statement said. “The Zelensky regime has authorized terrorist attacks with the use of toxic substances against Russian personnel and civilians” following a string of military defeats in Donbass and other areas, the ministry noted.

So, besides “nuclear terrorism” launched by Kiev against Ukrainian NPPs, and “anti-personnel mines terrorism” used by Kiev against civilians in Donbass, and “chemical terrorism” in the form of attacking chemical plants there appeared one more type of terrorism pursued by Ukrainian leaders – a “biological terrorism” by using Botulinum toxin Type B.

Botulinum toxin is one of the most powerful poisons of organic origin, it is produced by Clostridium bacteria, which are anaerobic, that is, they live in the absence of oxygen, military expert Igor Nikulin, a former member of the UN Commission on Biological Weapons, told RBC or Rosbisnessconsulting mass media. “Producing such a poison is a difficult task even in modern laboratories, so it can only be produced in US military biological laboratories of the third and fourth levels of biosafety,” the expert believes.

No, doubt the USA, NATO, the EU, and the UNO will turn a blind eye to such inhuman acts prohibited by the international BW Convention.

2. Kiev still uses Ukrainian civilians as a human shield (examples recorded since August 15 till 20, 2022)

Russian MoD continues to record numerous facts of criminal actions by Kiev regime against civilians, as well as the use of civilian infrastructure for military purposes by Ukrainian armed formations. Here is the list of Ukrainian action in various areas recorded between August 15-20, 2022:

a) in Donetsk People’s Republic

in Artemovsk, militants of nationalist battalions are stationed in the dormitory of the Agrarian College (Pobedy Street), roadblocks and firing points are deployed in immediate vicinity, and approaches to the building are mined, but the local population is deliberately not warned about this;

in Artemovsk, militants of nationalist battalions have equipped a stronghold and ammunition depot in kindergarten No 58 (Gorbatov Street) and placed artillery and mortars in adjacent territory, without evacuating civilians from nearby houses and use them as a human shield;

in Artemovsk, AFU units are stationed on the territory of the tuberculosis hospital (Mariupolskaya Street), roadblocks and firing sites are deployed, and the approaches to the building are mined, but the local population is deliberately not warned about this;

in Artemovsk, militants of nationalist battalions have equipped a stronghold and ammunition depot in school No 7 (Kuznechnaya Street), and placed artillery and MLRS in the surrounding area, without evacuating civilians from nearby houses;

in Avdeyevka, AFU units are stationed in kindergarten No. 10 (Kommunalnaya Street), roadblocks are equipped along the perimeter, and the approaches to the institution are mined, but the local population is deliberately not warned about this;

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Ukraine bombs nuclear waste storage site and target cooling system

From RT

Ukraine bombs nuclear waste storage site – official
Rockets also targeted the cooling systems of the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant

The Ukrainian military has fired multiple rockets directly at coolant systems and nuclear waste storage site inside the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant in Energodar, local government administration member Vladimir Rogov told Russian media on Tuesday. He warned that a successful strike may result in a radiation release equivalent to a “dirty bomb.”

“One of the guided missiles hit just ten meters” from the barrels with spent nuclear fuel,” Rogov told Soloviev Live“Others hit a bit farther away, 50 to 200 meters.”

Since the storage site is out in the open, any hit will result in the release of nuclear waste ranging from dozens to hundreds of kilograms and contamination of the area, the official explained. “In plain language, that would be like a dirty bomb,” said Rogov.

While the reactor itself can only be destroyed with a tactical nuclear weapon, the coolant systems and waste storage are far more vulnerable and damage to them could easily cause a disaster, the official said. Ukrainian troops have already fired “several dozen” heavy projectiles at the cooling systems, Rogov added. If they succeed in disabling such a system, it could produce a meltdown bigger than the 1986 catastrophe at Chernobyl.

Russian troops established control of the Zaporozhye NPP, Europe’s largest facility of the kind, early on in the course of military operations in Ukraine. Russia and Ukraine have been accusing each other of shelling the facility, warning that combat in the area could trigger a nuclear disaster. Russia accused Ukraine of launching artillery and drone strikes on the facility, denouncing the operations as “nuclear terrorism.” Ukrainian troops claimed that the Russians were shelling themselves to discredit Kiev.

Russian requests to the UN and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the site firsthand have been met with excuses that inspectors can only access the station via Kiev, and Ukraine can’t guarantee their safe passage.

On Monday, Rogov accused the UN of blocking the IAEA visit because it was covering for Kiev. If the inspectors actually showed up, he said, they would be forced to conclude that Ukraine and not Russia was shelling the power plant.

“It is obvious, it’s all been documented, and not only that, it’s also well known who is being supplied with American guided missiles. Obviously, not Russia, but the Zelensky regime,” he said.

Russia urges international inspection of shelled nuclear site

From RT

Moscow said it will do whatever it can to enable an IAEA visit to the Zaporozhye power plant

August 18, 2022

Russia is calling on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant as soon as possible to fulfill its mandate as the UN’s nuclear watchdog, a senior Russian diplomat said.

“We would like such an IAEA mission to take place soon. Russia will do its best to facilitate it,” Igor Vishnevetsky, the deputy foreign minister for arms control, said during a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference on Wednesday.

The inspection was supposed to happen sometime ago, he added, but was derailed “not due to a fault of ours.” The diplomat pointed the finger at Ukraine, saying that its regular attacks on the nuclear site was why it was not safe for IAEA monitors to visit it.

“People should not attack nuclear sites, should not use artillery or other weapons against nuclear power plants,” Vishnevetsky stressed. “The Ukrainian side knows it very well, and nevertheless does it, effectively committing acts of nuclear terrorism.”

The Ukrainian power plant, the largest of its kind in Europe, comes under regular artillery shelling. One projectile this week reportedly struck ten meters from a container holding spent nuclear fuel.

Kiev denies carrying out the strikes and claims that Russian troops are shelling the plant to discredit Ukraine. It also accused Russia of stationing its military forces at the Zaporozhye plant.

The UN would neither confirm nor deny allegations by either side and called for a demilitarized zone around the nuclear facility. The US said that Russia had to cede control of the plant and the city of Energodar, where it’s located, to Ukraine, to prevent the risk of a nuclear disaster.

UN warns against ‘suicide’ attacks on Zaporozhye nuclear plant

Contact Western leaders and officials. Demand a halt to these attacks. This is unacceptable!

From RT

August 18, 2022

The secretary general has warned that the facility must become “purely civilian infrastructure” to ensure the safety of the area

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres has expressed support for an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) mission to visit the Zaporozhye nuclear plant in Russian-controlled territory of Ukraine, but said the trip can happen only if both Moscow and Kiev can agree on terms.

Speaking to reporters in Lviv on Thursday, Guterres said the UN had been in close contact with the IAEA and determined that “we have in Ukraine the logistics and security capacity” to support a mission to Europe’s largest nuclear plant.

He said the visit would happen “from Kiev” and only “provided both Russia and Ukraine agree.”

In recent weeks, Russian forces have accused Ukraine of deliberately shelling the facility on several occasions, while Kiev has accused Russia of attacking the plant. The facility remains under Russian control, though it is operated by Ukrainian personnel.

“We must tell it like it is – any potential damage to [Zaporozhye] is suicide.”

Guterres, who has previously called to demilitarize the area, insisted that an agreement was “urgently needed” to establish Zaporozhye as a “purely civilian infrastructure” to ensure the plant’s safety.

“Common sense must prevail to avoid any actions that might endanger the physical integrity, safety or security of the nuclear plant,” the UN chief said, adding that the facility “must not be used as part of any military operation.”

Moscow, which has repeatedly called for an IAEA mission to the plant, has said that calls by the UN to completely demilitarize the area around the facility are unacceptable, citing what it called provocations from Kiev. Demilitarizing the area would make it more vulnerable to Ukrainian nationalist groups, Russian Foreign Ministry Deputy Spokesman Ivan Nechayev said on Thursday.

The Russian Defense Ministry has warned that Ukraine is planning a provocation at the site on Friday to coincide with Guterres’ visit, in order to accuse Russia of risking nuclear disaster.

Earlier this week, French President Emmanuel Macron also expressed support for an IAEA mission to travel to Ukraine, saying it should happen “as soon as possible.”