Statement at the UNSC Briefing on Ukraine (Zaporizhzhia)
Statement23 August 2022
Thank you, President, and I would like to thank USG diCarlo for your briefing.
President, Ireland continues to be deeply concerned by the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the serious risk of a radiological accident or incident arising from military activity at that site.
We are also very concerned by the ongoing shelling at and around the power plant, which must stop immediately.
The devastating consequences for the people of Ukraine and the wider region of an accident or incident at Zaporizhzhia should be the overriding concern for all of us.
We strongly support the Secretary-General’s call for the demilitarisation of the plant and its environs.
President, it is essential that basic principles of nuclear safety and security are fully respected. We call on Russia, and indeed all states, to commit themselves to the Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security, as set out by the IAEA Director General, regarding peaceful nuclear facilities and materials in all circumstances, including in situations of armed conflict.
We commend the bravery and professionalism of the Ukrainian personnel at the plant who have sought to maintain its safe operation despite being subjected to intolerable circumstances by Russian military forces.
We strongly support an IAEA mission to the power plant, to address safety, security and safeguards at the plant, respecting Ukraine’s sovereignty over its full territory and infrastructure.
We welcome Secretary-General Guterres’s reaffirmation and, as expressed by USG DiCarlo, that the UN has the logistical and security capacity to support the mission from Kyiv to the nuclear power plant. It is vital that this mission can have full access with no restrictions. We hope to see that mission take place as soon as possible.
We are also deeply worried by possible efforts to disconnect the power plant from the Ukrainian electrical grid. In the circumstances, this presents significant dangers for nuclear safety, as well as for the humanitarian needs for the people of Ukraine who are relying on it for their energy needs.
President, let’s call a spade a spade. The issues at Zaporizhzhia arise solely from Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine. The Russian military have created this crisis through their illegal seizure and occupation of the Zaporizhzhia facility, and their reckless actions in Ukraine, which have clearly demonstrated their utter disregard for nuclear safety and security.
We recall that armed attacks against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes are violations of international law, including the principles of the UN Charter.
As we have said before, if Russia is genuine in its concern regarding nuclear safety at Zaporizhzhia, it must assume its responsibilities and end its illegal occupation of the site, withdrawing its troops and munitions. This would see control of the plant restored to the competent Ukrainian authorities, supported by the IAEA.
Ireland again calls on Russia to end its brutal war against the Ukrainian people and withdraw its troops from the entire internationally recognised territory of Ukraine, and to respect the sovereignty and territorial integrity of its neighbours.