Russia rejects proposal for demilitarized zone around Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant
The Russian Foreign Ministry has rejected a proposal from UN Secretary-General António Guterres to create a demilitarized zone around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP). Ministry spokesperson Ivan Nechayev claimed demilitarization would make the facility “even more vulnerable,” according to Interfax. The rejection came on the same day that Guterres met for talks with Ukraine’s President Zelensky in Ukraine.
Nechayev also said that Russia is awaiting a visit from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) representatives to monitor the situation “in the very near future.” While a visit by IAEA inspectors to the plant does appear to be on the horizon, Russia has complicated the plans in recent days by claiming the IAEA’s planned route through Kyiv would be too “risky."
The Zaporizhzhia NPP in Enerhodar, the largest nuclear power facility in Europe, came under Russian control at the start of the February invasion. In August, the territory around the plant came under renewed shellfire. Ukraine and Russia have each accused the other of being responsible for the shelling.
According to the IAEA, the safety regulations are being violated on a massive scale at the plant. IAEA head Rafael Grossi has repeatedly stated that he’s ready to lead a mission to inspect the facility.
More than 40 countries have called on Moscow to return control of the Zaporizhzhia NPP to Kyiv immediately. UN Secretary General António Guterres proposed creating a demilitarized zone around the station on August 11.