Thank you, President, and thank you to the Secretary-General, and the Director General of the IAEA for their timely and relevant briefings.
The importance of the IAEA mission to Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and the Agency’s continued presence cannot be overstated. Their professional and impartial efforts are key to our understanding of the situation at the plant. We also commend the crucial work done by the Ukrainian staff who, in severe circumstances, continue to operate the plant under occupation by Russian forces.
We call on Russia to return full control of the facility to its Ukrainian operator. One clear line of Ukrainian operational control and authority is vital.
The safety and security situation of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant has deteriorated solely because of Russia’s aggression. It is totally unacceptable that a nuclear facility has become a frontline in the ongoing Russian war against Ukraine.
We appreciate the IAEA’s Summary Report, with recommendations, released earlier today. The IAEA has identified an urgent need for interim measures to prevent a nuclear accident arising from physical damage caused by military means. As the Director General has explained, this can be achieved by the immediate establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone.
We reaffirm the importance of the Seven Pillars of Nuclear Safety and Security outlined by the IAEA Director General. And we support the Agency in helping ensure the implementation of these pillars in Ukraine. We echo also his concerns. Including for the physical integrity, the power supply, and staff conditions, at the plant. Nuclear facilities should not be used for military activities, or the storage of military material.
We remain concerned that Russia’s seizure of a nuclear power plant is also a means of taking hostage a central source of electricity supply, essential to the civilian population of Ukraine.
The electricity generated at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant rightfully belongs to the people of Ukraine. Any attempt to disconnect the plant from the Ukrainian grid is unacceptable.
Russia must immediately withdraw its forces in and around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, and all other Ukrainian nuclear facilities.
The ongoing attacks on civilians and civilian infrastructure have a devastating and unacceptable impact. Russia’s illegal war and unprovoked aggression has caused terrible suffering for the people of Ukraine, and beyond- including by aggravating global food insecurity, affecting the most vulnerable the hardest.
Let me end by again reiterating that Norway condemns Russia’s choice to wage this war in the strongest possible terms.
The Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its forces from within Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders. This is the only sustainable solution to the many issues we are discussing today.