World Up to 42 countries demand Russia to return Zaporiyia nuclear power plant to Ukraine
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A total of 42 countries and the EU have signed a declaration demanding the "immediate withdrawal" of Russian troops occupying the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant in Ukraine.
"The deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at a nuclear facility is unacceptable and is a disregard for the principles of safety and security of all IAEA members," says the statement, signed among other countries by Spain, referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency.
It therefore calls for the "immediate withdrawal" of Russian military forces "and any other unauthorized personnel" from the Zaporiyia plant, its immediate surroundings and the whole of Ukraine so that the Ukrainian authorities "can resume their sovereign responsibilities within the borders of Ukraine recognized by the international community".
Ukraine-Ukraine warns of risk of hydrogen leakage and possible fires at attacked Zaporiyia power plant
Ukrainian nuclear power operator Energoatom warned Saturday that the Zaporiyia nuclear power plant is in danger of a hydrogen leak and a possible fire following attacks in the past two days for which Moscow and Kiev are blaming each other.
This will also enable the IAEA to perform its verification functions in accordance with Ukraine's obligations regarding the safe maintenance of the nuclear power plant.
The declaration is signed by the EU member states and also by the United States, the United Kingdom, Norway, Australia, Japan and New Zealand.
Meanwhile, this Sunday, the Ukrainian authorities have denounced new bombings in Enerhodar, near the Zaporiya nuclear power plant, and have denounced the death of one person. Russia has also blamed "Ukrainian nationalists" for these bombings and has assured that there is also one dead.
The Zaporiya nuclear power plant, the largest in Europe, has been under Russian control since March, although Ukrainian personnel continue to maintain the facilities.
What happens if Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant explodes?
Experts say the greatest concern is in the leak of radiation that could come as a result of the shelling.Both Russia and Ukraine have accused each other of attacking the plant and of “nuclear terrorism”, with the IAEA urging “utmost restraint” around the site.
An IAEA inspection is pending, but the UN, Russia and Ukraine have failed to agree on an agenda for the visit.
Russian diplomat Mikhail Ulyanov has called on the UN to intervene to ensure the safety of the nuclear power plant, according to the TASS news agency.
So far the UN has not authorized the visit of IAEA Secretary General Rafael Grossi, not only for safety reasons but also because of disputes over his itinerary. Rossi could travel to the region via the Black Sea to the Moscow-controlled area in Crimea, which would be perceived as an affront by Kiev.
Ukraine accuses Russia of using the nuclear power plant as a bastion to fire on the towns of Nikopol and Marhanez, on the other side of the Dnipro River. Meanwhile, Russia denounces Ukrainian shelling of the plant using drones, heavy artillery and rocket launchers.
The risks to Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia power plant, explained .
Europe’s biggest nuclear power plant is also its most vulnerable.Zaporizhzhia is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, and it provides electricity to Ukraine and to several European countries. Its location on the Dnipro River makes it a critical target for Russian forces, which have controlled the plant since March. Despite Russian forces allegedly turning the plant into a military installation, Ukrainian operators still manage the safety and daily operations of the plant, under significant duress.