The EU and 42 countries have called on Russia to immediately withdraw its military forces from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) and all of Ukraine.
According to Ukrinform, a joint statement dated August 12 on the situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant was published on Sunday on the website of the EU Delegation to the International Organizations in Vienna.
"We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorized personnel from the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, its immediate surroundings, and all of Ukraine so that the operator and the Ukrainian authorities can resume their sovereign responsibilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders and the legitimate operating staff can conduct their duties without outside interference, threat, or unacceptably harsh working conditions," the statement said.
It added that this would also "enable the IAEA to carry out its verification pursuant to Ukraine’s safeguards obligations under safe and secure conditions and in a timely manner."
The EU and 42 countries emphasized that the deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the nuclear facility "is unacceptable and disregards the safety, security, and safeguards principles that all members of the IAEA have committed to respect."
They also expressed their support for the work of the IAEA and its Director General to assist Ukraine in the areas of nuclear safety, security, and safeguards implementation during Russia‘s ongoing war of aggression against Ukraine, "while respecting full Ukrainian sovereignty over its territory and infrastructure."
"We strongly condemn Russia’s use of disinformation to try to justify its illegal actions in Ukraine. The international community will hold Russia accountable for its aggression, and Russia must bear full responsibility for its unlawful actions in Ukraine," the document said.
The statement was issued on behalf of Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Montenegro, Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Türkiye, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America, as well as the European Union.
The Zaporizhzhia NPP is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe. Russian forces captured the station on March 4. Since then, the invaders have been placing military equipment and ammunition there.
Russian forces have been regularly shelling the Zaporizhzhia NPP since August 5.