Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Statement by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia at UNSC meeting on Ukraine


This meeting is another attempt of Kiev’s authorities to fuel the artificial hysteria around the developments in Ukraine. And Western sponsors eagerly echo them. Today we heard another lies – that Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) was allegedly bombarded by Russian troops, which started a fire there. Those claims are not true.

Russian troops gained control over the city of Enerhodar, the ZNPP and its surrounding area on 28 February. There were negotiations with the management of the ZNPP and an agreement was reached that the power plant would be guarded by the Russian military. The goal is to prevent Ukrainian nationalists and other terrorist formations from abusing the current situation and carrying out nuclear provocations, maintain safety and security of the NPP, and preclude blackouts in energy supply to the people of Ukraine and European consumers. At this moment, our troops are protecting the ZNPP and its surrounding area. To do this, we engage personnel who hold relevant expertise, i.a. have skills to operate the ZNPP machinery.

A similar situation has evolved in the area of Chernobyl NPP. Russian armed forces and Ukrainian nuclear plant operators engage together to maintain security of the facility. Our military do not interfere in the work of Ukrainian operators, and only act as guards.

As reported by the Defense Ministry, at night of 4 March Russian mobile patrol was attacked by a Ukrainian sabotage group when they were patrolling the area under their protection (it was not the territory of ZNPP, but its adjacent area). Russian military were heavily fired at from windows of several levels of a training facility building that was located outside the territory of the ZNPP. This was done to provoke retaliation. Russian patrol started retaliatory fire and eliminated the gun posts of Ukrainian sabotage group in the training center. When leaving the building, Ukrainian saboteurs set it on fire. Let me emphasize that the facility was located outside the ZNPP territory.

Russian fire teams extinguished the flame. At the moment of the provocation, there were no members of the ZNPP staff in the building.

The personnel of the ZNPP (they were not injured despite what US Ambassador claimed today) keeps working in a routine mode. They service the facilities of the power plant and monitor radiation levels, which are normal at the ZNPP. All facilities of the power plant are controlled by the Russian military and are totally safe. The power plant keeps working normally, in compliance with all technological requirements.

Energy units of ZNPP are not damaged. Unit 1 was shut off for maintenance, units 2 and 3 were temporarily disconnected from the system pursuant to a decision of the ZNPP management, unit 4 operates at 690 MW capacity, units 5 and 6 are cooling down.

According to press releases, issued on 4 March by IAEA leadership, the NPP keeps functioning normally with nothing posing a threat to safety and security of the six energy units; radiation monitoring systems at the site are fully functional; and there is no threat of release of radioactive material.

Let me remind that Ukrainian nationalists once already tried to destabilize the situation at the power plant and the city of Enerhodar in 2014. Western states ignored this blatant incident which could have led to a disaster, though we drew attention to this serious situation.

Now, when Russian military are doing their best to maintain security at Ukrainian nuclear facilities, a massive anti-Russian propaganda campaign is unfolding. It is based on absurd allegations that Russia allegedly tries to create a source of radiological contamination. But why would we do that? We know the situation better than anyone else. No one can be more eager than we are to ensure proper level of nuclear safety and security in Ukraine. We are Ukraine’s neighbors. We lived through the Chernobyl tragedy together with Ukrainians and Belarusians. So that is why we are interested more than anyone else in maintaining a normal radiation situation throughout Ukraine.

Let me stress again that it is not Russian troops that pose a threat to the people of Ukraine, but Ukrainian nationalists. They keep population of some big cities as hostages, they carry out acts of sabotage and provocations, one of which we are discussing now, and then afterwards they attempt to blame Russia for that. Yesterday’s incident at the ZNPP clearly illustrates this. As for you, our Western colleagues, your reaction to this and your attempts to escalate it into a global scale scandal, leave no space to doubt that radicals and extremists in Ukraine enjoy your protection and patronage. You gave them a sort of a carte blanche. This “project Ukraine” made you forget about the future and well-being of ordinary Ukrainians, as it made you ignore systemic bombardments of Donbas civilians by the Ukrainian armed forces that continued for 8 years.

We call on you to bring your protégés to reason. They still use civilians as a cover-up, placing heavy equipment and multiple rocket launchers in residential quarters – in the worst traditions of ISIL and its accomplices in Idlib. In Mariupol, nationalists detained 60 people who were escaping via a humanitarian corridor, and forcefully brought them to local school #34 that was mined. Now terrorists use people as a human shield. They threaten the advancing units of the Donetsk People's Republic that they may blow up the school where hostages are kept.

Terrorists do not let civilians leave cities. This impacts not only Ukrainians, but foreigners as well. The number of foreign citizens whom Ukrainian nationals are keeping by force is shocking. Kharkov – 3189 nationals of India, up to 2700 nationals of Viet Nam, 202 nationals of China. Sumy – 576 nationals of India, 101 nationals of Ghana, 121 national of China. Chernigov – 9 nationals of Indonesia. Nationalists in Kharkov started fire against a group of Chinese citizens who attempted to exit to the territory of Russia by themselves. Two of them were injured.

Russian military do everything to evacuate foreigners. In the Belgorod region of Russia, 130 buses have been waiting since 6.00 am today at the crossing points “Nekhoteevka” and “Sudja” ready to go to Kharkov and Sumy to evacuate the Indian students and other foreign nationals. The checkpoints are equipped to provide temporarily accommodation, space for rest, hot food. Also, there are mobile medical stations with a stock of medications. Everyone evacuated will then be taken to Belgorod, and from there transported to their homeland by air.

Let me flag another blatant episode that we would like briefers from the Secretariat to comment on. The Telegram channel of so-called Territorial Defense of Kramatorsk made a publication about “requisition” of vehicles belonging to representative of UN Mission. If the Secretariat is not aware of that, we are ready to share relevant materials. This message says: “Sorry, but the needs justify the deeds, we requisitioned UN vehicles, because we need them now”. Nationalists also say: “There is full understanding from the UN. There were no official statements or protests on their part”. We are very concerned that UN Mission’s vehicles may end up in the hands of terrorists and be used for terrorist purposes. If the Secretariat was indeed aware of that, as nationalists say, we would like an explanation why the United Nations did not inform member states about that.

Thank you.