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.

While Kiev continues to commit war crimes, the situation with crime inside Ukraine is getting worse. Ukrainian Interior Minister Denis Monastyrsky warned the other day about the expected sharp growth of the crime rate in the country due to the increase in the number of illegal weapons. This is a direct consequence of uncontrolled supplies of Western arms to the Kiev regime and its irresponsible decisions to distribute thousands of guns to civilians. It goes without saying that this will have dire consequences for the crime situation in Europe, as Interpol and Europol representatives have already noted. Obviously, the Kiev regime could not care less about the fate of people in Ukraine, Donbass or European countries.

What is happening in Ukraine today, the criminal actions of the Ukrainian authorities and nationalist units, confirm the absolute correctness of the goals and tasks of the special military operation. Only when they are achieved, will it be possible to guarantee peace, stability and security in the region.

Question: The IAEA has started preparing a new mission to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant. In the meantime, Russia has declared that it would take all the necessary measures to ensure that the IAEA experts have access to the nuclear power plant in question. What will their visit entail? What are Russia’s expectations?

Ivan Nechayev: We expect that the IAEA international mission to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant scheduled for June of this year will take place after all.  We are in constant contact with the IAEA leadership on this matter. As you know, the IAEA Director General intends to visit the station in person.

As in the past, when the practically coordinated visit to the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was scrapped due to the UN Secretariat’s interference and obstacles put up by Ukraine, there are more than enough people opposing this mission. We took notice of the recent statements by the spokesperson to the UN Secretary General, who said that the UN Secretariat was not authorised to impede or cancel any actions by the IAEA.  Let us hope that this is so. The spokesperson, Stephane Dujarric, also reminded his audience that the IAEA was fully independent and could determine on its own how it should carry out its mandate. Thus, it is the IAEA’s prerogative to decide how to deal with all the organisational matters related to the upcoming mission.

Hopefully, the Kiev regime and its Western sponsors will no longer be able to hide behind the broad back of UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres. We note frenzied attempts by the Ukrainian authorities to insinuate that it is Russia that is putting up obstacles in the path of an IAEA international mission to the ZNPP.  But everyone sees the fury with which the Banderovites deliver military strikes at the ZNPP and Energodar, where the ZNPP personnel and their families live. The Ukrainian shelling is almost continuous, with projectiles hitting closer and closer to the spent fuel storage and the cooling systems. Power transmission lines feeding the station also come under fire at regular intervals. It is clear that Zelensky’s henchmen have no use for monitors, given the current developments. They are ready to burn the whole thing to the ground to hide the traces of their crimes that the IAEA experts will not fail to spot.

We are deeply concerned not only over Ukraine’s folly but also the fact that the Americans and Europeans are seeking to cover up for their Ukrainian charges at any cost, to paper over the outrages committed by the Ukrainian Nazis, who are toying with the fates of both their own citizens and the entire continent. The West’s criminal connivance at the Ukrainian shelling of and missile strikes at the ZNPP has no reasonable explanation. Moreover, it is unacceptable that fragments of NATO projectiles are increasingly often found next to the station’s vitally important elements and units. Obviously, it is for this reason that Washington and European capitals are so zealous in helping the Zelensky regime to axe yet another IAEA mission to the ZNPP.

In fact, they are absolutely indifferent to nuclear security considerations. By all appearances, they are going out of their way to find an expedient excuse that will help them to abort Rafael Grossi’s visit to the station and put the blame for it on Russia. Hence the Western playing up to Kiev’s insinuations. This attitude is totally irresponsible.

The mission to the ZNPP, as the IAEA mandate as a whole, is of purely technical nature. We regard as unacceptable the West’s provocative signals that Russia should first return the control over the ZNPP to Kiev and only then, allegedly, will the experts be able to visit and inspect the station. In June, the IAEA and Russia coordinated every last detail and all parameters of the visit, doing so without any far-fetched preconditions.

We are resolved to continue our constructive cooperation with the IAEA. Of course, we will have to take into account and eliminate new risks and threats created by Ukraine and resulting from the unrelenting massive shelling of the ZNPP and adjacent areas. We are confident that the mission will successfully cope with all its tasks and that its results will help to avert a disaster by consolidating the global effort to oppose nuclear threats instigated by the Ukrainian top officials in their Russophobic rage.


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