The G-7 and EU on Wednesday voiced concern over the threats posed by Russia's possession of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, urging Moscow to hand over the war-torn country's nuclear facilities to the government in Kyiv.
The G-7 Foreign Ministers of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, UK and US, and the High Representative of the EU issued a joint statement condemning Russia’s ongoing war against Ukraine.
“In that context, we demand that Russia immediately hand back full control to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant as well as of all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders to ensure their safe and secure operations.
“Ukrainian staff operating the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant must be able to carry out their duties without threats or pressure. It is Russia’s continued control of the plant that endangers the region,” the statement said.
The statement also expressed concern about “the serious threat that the seizure of Ukrainian nuclear facilities and other actions by Russian armed forces pose to the safety and security of these facilities, significantly raising the risk of a nuclear accident or incident and endangering the population of Ukraine, neighboring states and the international community.”
It also undermines the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) ability to monitor Ukraine’s peaceful nuclear activities for safeguarding purposes, it added.
It expressed support for IAEA Director General Grossi's efforts to strengthen nuclear safety and security in Ukraine, stressing the importance of facilitating a mission of IAEA experts to the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to address nuclear safety, security, and safeguard concerns.
“IAEA staff must be able to access all nuclear facilities in Ukraine safely and without impediment, and engage directly, and without interference, with the Ukrainian personnel responsible for the operation of these facilities. The safety of all individuals implementing these efforts must be addressed to strengthen nuclear safety, security and safeguards in Ukraine,” it said.