Rosemary DiCarlo, a top UN political affairs officer, has called the severe fighting reported overnight near Ukraine’s largest nuclear power plant as both unacceptable and “very reckless.”
On Friday, DiCarlo made the claim while speaking to the United Nations Security Council.
During an emergency meeting of the Security Council, the Under-Secretary-General for Political and Peacebuilding Affairs stated that radiation levels from nuclear facilities are normal and that the facility’s cooling system is unaffected.
She stated that every effort must be made to avoid a nuclear disaster.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), joined her and volunteered to deploy to Ukraine quickly to build a framework to ensure the safety and security of the country’s nuclear facilities.
DiCarlo said to the 15-member Council a week after it failed to adopt a draft resolution condemning Russia’s ongoing actions in Ukraine, that cities there are still under severe Russian bombardment and that over one million people have already fled across the country’s borders.
Those who remain in Ukraine are subjected to intense bombing and bombardment, with thousands of casualties reported — and the number continues to rise.
She stated that severe fighting overnight at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) affected a training facility but not the cooling system or power center, noting that the UN is expanding its activities in response to the crisis.
The UN political chief described the current activities as both immoral and “very reckless,” and underlined that attacks are not new.
“The Chernobyl tragedy in 1986 serves as a stark reminder of the importance of ensuring that all nuclear power facilities meet the highest safety and security standards,” she said.
IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said the Council through a remote connection from a plane headed to Iran that Russia had alerted his agency many days ago that its forces were moving into the region of Zaporizhzhia NPP.
They were greeted with protests from Ukrainian citizens, but later damaged a building near the nuclear reactors with a projectile rocket, causing a fire that was quickly put out.
While the plant’s operations are unaffected, Groissi stressed that “there is no normalcy in this circumstance when armed forces are in charge of the site.”
Against that backdrop, IAEA stands ready to travel to Ukraine as soon as possible, with the goal of establishing a framework to ensure that the safety and integrity of all nuclear facilities can be observed.
He emphasised that the mission would be restricted to nuclear safety and security, and in no way be connected to the political or diplomatic aspects of the crisis, which fall under the purview of the Security Council, NAN reports.