Russia supports UN atomic watchdog director Rafael Grossi’s proposal for a trilateral meeting with Ukraine to ensure the safety of nuclear facilities there during Russia’s invasion, but not at Chernobyl, as Grossi desires, according to Moscow’s representative to the watchdog.
According to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is the first time a conflict has erupted in a country with such a sophisticated and established nuclear power program.
The nation has four active nuclear power stations, including Europe’s largest in terms of capacity, located near Crimea in Zaporizhzhia.
Last week, a facility near but distinct from the Zaporizhzhia reactors caught fire after being hit by what Grossi described as a Russian military weapon. Ukraine’s saboteurs were accused by Russia.
Russian military now have control of the factory, and Ukrainian employees are working under their directions.
The fire was put out, and the reactors were unharmed, but the incident showed the potentially disastrous effects of a nuclear facility being struck.
Grossi proposed the three-way at Chernobyl, where Russia has taken control of a radioactive waste dump near the defunct power station where the world’s worst nuclear catastrophe occurred in 1986. The goal is to keep Ukraine’s nuclear plants secure.
“Russia supported Grossi’s idea regarding a trilateral meeting and we expect that the Ukrainians will also be cooperative,” Russia’s IAEA envoy Mikhail Ulyanov told reporters on Monday.
“Chernobyl, in my opinion, is not the finest location for such a gathering. There are several capitals around the world.”
Grossi was “extremely concerned” on Sunday when Ukraine reported that Russian forces had turned down several cell networks and the internet in Zaporizhzhia, making connection with the outside world more difficult, and communication with Chernobyl was now only available via email.