Thank you President,
Let me start by thanking Director General Grossi for his briefing and providing frequent, factual updates on matters within the Agency’s mandate.
The Director General has outlined seven indispensable pillars for nuclear safety and security.
We note with great distress that Russian forces have violated several of them during their military aggression against Ukraine.
Norway strongly condemns Russia’s illegal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine which has gone on now for half a year.
In March, the IAEA Board of Governors adopted a resolution deploring the Russian Federation “forcefully” seizing control of nuclear facilities.
The Board expressed:
“grave concern that the Russian Federation’s aggression is impeding the Agency from fully and safely conducting safeguards verification activities at Ukrainian nuclear facilities...”
We call on Russia to return full control of all Ukrainian nuclear facilities to their Ukrainian operators.
The ongoing war has disrupted direct communication lines between them and the Ukrainian regulator- this is extremely dangerous.
Nuclear safety and security deteriorate from the presence of an armed aggressor.
The staff operating the facilities are under psychological and physical stress.
And they are at the mercy of an invading force.
This is not conducive to the safe operation of nuclear facilities.
Norway has had a longstanding cooperation with Ukraine on nuclear safety and security.
And we commend Ukraine for its commitment and dedication to ensuring continuing nuclear safety and security in the country under these severe circumstances.
Damage to, and destruction of, civilian infrastructure
is unacceptable. It must always be protected in accordance with international humanitarian law.
We are concerned that Russia’s occupation of nuclear power plants in Ukraine means also seizing control over the central sources of electricity for the Ukrainian civilian population.
It remains important that an IAEA mission to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant is facilitated to address nuclear safety, security, and safeguard concerns. And done so in a manner that fully respects Ukrainian sovereignty.
In closing President,
Norway again underlines that the Russian Federation must immediately withdraw its forces from Ukraine’s internationally recognised borders, and cease all threats and military actions.
This would restore Ukraine’s ability to ensure safe and secure operations at nuclear facilities. Thank you.