Saturday, September 30

UN secretary-general says attack on Ukraine’s Zaporizhia nuclear power plant would be ‘suicidal’

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres warned in Japan on Monday that any attack on a nuclear plant is “a suicide mission.” The statements come after the bombing last week against the largest atomic plant in Europe, located in the city of Zaporizhia, Ukraine. Guterres has also called for international inspectors to be given access to the plant. “We fully support the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in its efforts to create stabilization conditions for the plant,” he said.

It has not been possible to determine who attacked the Ukrainian nuclear plant last Friday and Ukraine and Russia cross accusations. Russian forces seized the plant, located in the south-east of the country, in early March. Ukraine claims the attack damaged three radiation sensors and injured a worker, and President Zelensky accused Moscow of “nuclear terror.” For its part, Russia blamed Ukraine for the attack and has published a list of the alleged damages.

On August 3, the Washington-based Institute for the Study of War (ISW) think tank said Russian forces are likely using the plant to “play on Western fears of a nuclear disaster in Ukraine in an attempt to degrade Western willingness to provide military support for a Ukrainian counteroffensive.” The ISW further said that Russia was “effectively using the plant as a nuclear shield to prevent Ukrainian attacks on Russian forces and equipment.” According to The New York Times, Russia has even used the plant to fire on ukrainian forces from mid-July.

The director of the IAEA, the Argentine Rafael Grossi, was willing in June to visit the plant under Russian control, but Ukraine vehemently criticized these plans, considering that the UN official’s trip could mean some kind of legitimization of the occupation. Russian. On August 3, Grossi said that the nuclear power plant was “completely out of control” and that “all the principles of nuclear safety have been violated.”

“Right now, with the nuclear threat back, we must ask the countries with nuclear weapons to commit not to use them. If not, this would mean the destruction of the planet,” Guterres said during a press conference with the National Press Club in Tokyo.

The Secretary of the United Nations is in Japan on the occasion of the 77th anniversary of the nuclear bombing of Hiroshima, which occurred on August 6, 1945, and participated in a ceremony held in this Japanese city, where he also warned about the risk of nuclear proliferation.

“Participating in the ceremony on Saturday was an exciting experience,” said Guterres, who has also warned of global threats and escalating tensions, especially after the Russian invasion of Ukraine last February.

When asked about the UN’s position on a possible Russian nuclear attack, he said that if this happened, “the UN could not do anything, since there is a possibility that the world will cease to exist”.