India concerned about bombings near Ukrainian nuclear power plant

United Nations, August 12: India has expressed concern over the bombardment near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world, as Moscow and kyiv traded accusations over the incidents and that the head of the international atomic agency has warned of “serious consequences”.

Addressing the Security Council on Thursday, India’s permanent representative, Ruchira Kamboj, said: “Any accident involving nuclear facilities could have serious consequences for public health and the environment.

“India expresses concern over reports of shelling near the spent fuel storage facility of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.”

The Council session was convened at the request of Russia to review the bombardment around the facility.

India is “closely monitoring” the situation and “attaches great importance to ensuring the safety and security of these facilities”, Kamboj added.

“We call for mutual restraint so as not to endanger the safety and security of nuclear facilities.”

Constrained by its military and economic dependence on Moscow, New Delhi has taken a step forward without categorically condemning Russia or directly supporting Ukraine.

Repeating what could be construed as diplomatic criticism of Russia, Kamboj said: “We continue to reiterate that the global order must be anchored on international law, the Charter of the United Nations and on respect for the integrity territorial and sovereignty of States”.

The Zaporizhzhya plant in southeastern Ukraine has been occupied by Russia, but Ukrainian technicians continue to work at the nuclear plant.

During a briefing to the Council, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Rafael Mariano Grossi, said that the August 5 bombardment caused several explosions near the electrical panel and caused a power cut. running.

“These military actions near such an important nuclear facility could lead to very serious consequences,” he warned.

At the same time, he also assured that the initial assessment of IAEA experts was that the bombings or other military actions did not pose an immediate threat to nuclear safety.

“That could change at any time.”

Russia’s permanent representative Vasily Nebenzya accused Ukraine of using heavy artillery against the plant during a shift change to intimidate its citizens who operated the plant.

He alleged there was a cluster munition attack on August 6 and another the next day that caused a power surge.

Ukraine’s permanent representative, Sergiy Kyslytsya, accused Russia of “militarizing” the site of the nuclear power plant.

He said an international mission including military experts should be sent to the plant.

Only a Russian withdrawal from Zaporizhzhia would end the threat to the plant, he said.

Secretary General Antonio Guterres issued a statement calling on everyone “to use common sense and reason” and to stop all military activity around the nuclear plant.

“Unfortunately, instead of a de-escalation, over the past few days there have been reports of new and deeply worrying incidents which could, if continued, lead to disaster,” he said.

This is the second confrontation between Ukraine and Russia regarding a nuclear facility.

During the first wave of invasion in February, Russian forces captured the Chernobyl nuclear facility, which suffered the worst atomic disaster in 1986 when Ukraine was part of the Soviet Union.

But Russia withdrew from Chernobyl in March after failing to advance on Ukraine’s capital Kyiv.

During the attack on the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant which was closed, there were fears of radioactive leaks.

Nuclear accidents are an extremely sensitive issue for Ukraine as large amounts of radiation escaped from the Chernobyl power plant after an explosion and fire destroyed a reactor in the 1986 disaster, rendering a 30km radius uninhabitable .

(IANS)

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