Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Permanent Mission of the Russian Federation to the United Nations

Remarks to the Press by Permanent Representative Vassily Nebenzia following the UNSC meeting on the attacks of Ukrainian armed forces on the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant

Q: The proposal from Mr. Rafael Grossi and the Secretary General for this protection zone. What is Russia's position on it?

A: First time I heard about the so-called demilitarized zone that the Secretary General came up with a month ago, first question I asked - I want to know the details. Same here. I do not know what Director General Rafael Grossi means by that, to what extent it will improve both physical and nuclear safety of the plant. Today, Russian military are protecting the plant and the equipment to which they referred, the military equipment amounts to a couple of lorries that are at the station that carried the Russian military who protect the plant physically with small arms. Nobody spoke today about the artillery or whatever military equipment that is stationed at the plant, which the other side and those who support it claim is present at the station. Even the Ukrainians refrain from saying that, if I am not mistaken. They said we're using it as a military base, but this is simply not true because we use our military there to provide the physical safety of the plant.

Q: But if you get more details, as you've requested, are you prepared to have talks on this idea? 

A: First we have to see the details. The thing will be definitely discussed at the meeting of the executive board of the IAEA, which will be held sometime shortly. But today, again, I leave aside arrogance and impudence by certain Member States to which I am not planning to react personally. But all we heard today are lies, lies from day one to the present. Who called for the mission, who did what, who is shelling the plant. Again, these absurd accusations that we are shelling ourselves, not a word about these saboteur attempts to retake the plant right on the eve of the IAEA mission to present themselves as liberators or I don't know what, not a word about the losses that they sustained with this reckless attack.

Q: The Secretary General spelled out a fairly simple plan in there – Russia withdraws all its forces and Ukraine agrees to not going.

A: We are saying in the current circumstances this will not be a measure that will protect the plant. We are controlling that plant and we're ensuring its safety. And the only reasonable way to ensure that the plant is protected and no nuclear accident happens is to stop Ukrainian from shelling of the plant, which they do recklessly without listening to anyone.

Q: Do you see an opening for the UN to possibly mediate some kind of deal between Russia and Ukraine on demilitarizing?

A: I'm not sure that Ukrainians are negotiable on that, like in many other things. They're not willing at all to negotiate on anything. The only thing they claim give us the plant back and everything will be okay. We have serious doubts about the way they behave now as to the plant, shelling its own facility, nuclear facility.

Q: What's your assessment of how the grain export deal is going then? Because you managed to reach a deal on that.

A: Well, we managed to reach a deal on that, but nothing happens on the Russian side. Not a single Russian vessel exported a single Russian grain from the ports of the Russian Federation up to now.

Q: Have you had any visas come through for UNGA at this stage?

A: For UNGA we don't have it yet. We still have time, and we hope that our American hosts will be reasonable about it. But we have some troubling signals. We have not received the visas for our delegation, including the Minister of Interior for the Police Summit and for another conference on cybercrime. So, these are troublesome signs. And of course we ring the bells on it.

Q: Mr. Ambassador, what's your response? I heard you might have said something to the US claim that Russia is buying weapons from the DPRK.

A: This is the first time I heard about it and i can only laugh about it.

Q: Mr. Rafael Grossi just said that if nothing happens a catastrophy will happen.

A: If Ukraine continues to behave like it’s behaving, if it continues to shell the plant and being covered up by its sponsors, then we do not exclude anything, because they are aiming at nuclear facilities. It will be a disaster which will spill over Ukraine, that's for sure. And also over Russia, over Europe. You remember what happened to Chernobyl when the winds blew it up all across Europe.

Q: Mr. Ambassador one more question on the grain export deal. You were saying Russia hasn't been exporting anything. Is there any danger that the overall deal could fall apart?

A: I don't know. The deal has been struck for four months. That means it expires in November, and the deal normally should be extended. I'm not negotiating the deal with the extension, but given the results or rather no results, i do not exclude anything. But that's not up to me to decide. But of course, we want to see the Russian part of the deal implemented. So far, it is not.

Q: So, no Russian grain has been exported?

A: No.

Q: Any fertilizer?

A: Nothing.

Q: So, no Russian grain?

A: Not under this particular deal.