I thank USG Rosemary DiCarlo and the General Director of the IAEA for their briefings to the Council. And I also thank the IAEA for providing frequent, factual updates on matters within the Agency’s mandate.
We called for this meeting, with partners, because this is an unjust war – unjustly fought.
Norway condemns the Russian Federation’s invasion of Ukraine.
And now, as reported, we see shelling and fighting in the immediate vicinity of a civilian nuclear Power Plant. It takes little imagination to understand the possible consequences of such actions.
It shows a blatant disregard for Ukrainian lives, for Russian lives, and indeed life in Europe and beyond. It is irresponsible and unacceptable. Civilians can never be a target, a nuclear power plant cand never be a target. Yet this is only the latest in a string of assaults on homes, hospitals, schools, bridges, roads, and other vital civilian infrastructure.
Damage and destruction of a nuclear plant would put us all in danger. It can lead to a radioactive nightmare with the most severe long-term effects for generations.
International Humanitarian Law is not optional.
We call on Russia to fulfil its obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.
These actions also violate the obligation under international humanitarian law to maintain the physical integrity of nuclear facilities, and keep them safe at all times.
And we recall the decision of the IAEA General Conference from 2009, that “any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency.”
We commend the efforts of the State Nuclear Regulatory Inspectorate of Ukraine to keep the international community updated on the status of nuclear safety and security in their country. And our thoughts go to the staff – the men and women – working at nuclear facilities in Ukraine, under these dire circumstances. We laud their commitment to ensuring continuing nuclear safety and security. Their perseverance is an example to us all.
Russia bears full responsibility for this act of aggression, and all the destruction and loss of life it has - and will continue to cause.
We reiterate our call upon the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its forces from Ukrainian territory, and cease all threats and military actions - including in the vicinity of, and directed at, nuclear facilities.
A ceasefire is desperately and urgently needed. Diplomacy must win.