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Monday, March 20, 2023

PM Shmyhal: Euratom and 49 countries call on Russia to leave Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant

by Dinara KhalilovaMarch 9, 2023 7:38 pm

European Atomic Energy Community (Euratom) and 49 countries demanded that Russia leaves the occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in a joint appeal to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal reported on March 9. 

"Risks at the Zaporizhzhia plant will remain high as long as Russian troops and Rosatom (Russia's state energy corporation) personnel stay at the station," Shmyhal wrote after the nuclear plant lost all its power for the sixth time during the full-scale war due to another Moscow's mass missile strike against Ukraine. 

Russia launched its largest missile and drone attack in months in the early morning hours of March 9, targeting numerous energy infrastructure sites and causing nationwide blackouts.

"Yet again, Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is running on emergency diesels – the last line of defense…Each time we are rolling a dice. And if we allow this to continue time after time, then one day our luck will run out," IAEA chief Rafael Grossi told the agency's board on the same day.

At 3:23 pm, Ukraine's state electricity grid operator Ukrenergo reported that the plant had been reconnected to the country's power system. 

In their appeal to the IAEA, the countries called on Russia to stop shelling Ukrainian energy facilities. They also emphasized the importance of Kyiv regaining control over all nuclear facilities within Ukraine as "only this move will ensure their safety and secure operation," according to the prime minister. 

The statement also insists on holding Russia accountable for its "repeated disregard of the nuclear safety principles," Shmyhal added. 

Since the beginning of March 2022, the Zaporizhzhia plant has been under the control of Russian troops, who have utilized it as a military base and launched assaults on Ukraine from the plant's territory. 

The Ukrainian employees at the plant have been subjected to repeated acts of violence and threats by Russian troops, with the intention of compelling them to cooperate.  

Dinara Khalilova
Dinara Khalilova
News editor

Dinara Khalilova is a news editor at the Kyiv Independent. She has previously worked as a fixer and local producer for Sky News. Dinara holds a BA in journalism from Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv and a Master’s degree in media and communication from Bournemouth University in the UK.

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