Russia opposes ZNPP, surrounding areas' demilitarization: Diplomat
Russia is not seeking a demilitarized ZNPP amid fears of a Ukrainian counteroffensive.
Russia absolutely does not consider the possibility of demilitarizing the Zaparozhye nuclear power plant, as well as surrounding areas, due to the facility's need for protection, Deputy Representative on Disarmament at the UN First Committee Konstantin Vorontsov said on Monday.
"We completely rule out the so-called demilitarization of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and the area around it, " Vorontsov added, explaining that this would "lead to a decrease in its protection and an increase in the threat of terrorist acts."
According to the Russian diplomat, the power plant's demilitarization would also open the door for the Ukrainian army to launch a counteroffensive against the region. He then stressed that the facility should always be protected.
The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) called on September 6 for the establishment of a security zone around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP) following an offensive by Kiev.
The attack took place after Kiev's forces opened fire from artillery on the Russian-controlled city of Energodar.
As a result of the shelling, a power line in the vicinity of the ZNPP was damaged, which led to a temporary power outage, as well as instability in the water supply.
Authorities reported in a statement that a total of seven shells had hit the area of a training building on the NPP premises, one of which had caused a leak of fuel oil from a tank at a water delivery line at the ZNPP.
On September 11, a member of the main council of the Zaporozhye region administration, Vladimir Rogov, told Sputnik that the last operating power unit of the ZNPP had been shut down.
The ZNPP fell under the control of Russian forces after the start of the war and has been targeted frequently by artillery shells from the Ukrainian forces, raising international concerns over a possible nuclear accident.
Recent reports show that there hasn't been any recent shelling at or close to the ZNPP, despite the unstable circumstances surrounding the facility.
Meanwhile, Ukraine and Russia both expressed interest in the IAEA's proposal about the establishment of a safe zone around the Zaparozhye nuclear power plant ZNPP, according to IAEA director general Rafael Grossi.
The UN nuclear watchdog chief had previously called for the parties to the conflict to immediately stop shelling and adhere to a more formal "nuclear safety and security protection zone" around the plant.
A team of 14 inspectors from IAEA headed to Zaporozhye as global concern grew over its safety in a war raging ever closer to its six reactors.