The Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant in the Russian-controlled city of Enerhodar in the Zaporizhzhya region.
Forty-two countries from around the world have signed a statement urging Russia to withdraw its armed forces from Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, saying their presence poses "a great danger."
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The statement , released on the European Union's website on August 14, condemns Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine and says the presence of Russian military forces at the plant -- Europe's largest nuclear power generation station -- prevents authorities from maintaining nuclear and radiation safety obligations.
"It is undeniable that Russia’s invasion and its continued presence at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities significantly raise the risk of nuclear incidents and accidents," the statement says.
"We urge the Russian Federation to immediately withdraw its military forces and all other unauthorized personnel from the Zaporizhzhya 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 continues.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy warned over the weekend that recent shelling at the plant has increased the threat of a leak of radiation. Russia doesn't deny it has troops located at the plant but has disputed claims it has shelled the area. Instead, Moscow blames Ukrainian forces for firing artillery shells in the area, which officials in Kyiv deny.
The situation at the plant has caused heightened alarm at the United Nations and the UN's nuclear energy watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Both have said IAEA inspectors should be allowed to visit the plant, while UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called for a demilitarized zone to be set up around it.
"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," the statement added.
This 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, the Netherlands, New Zealand, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Republic of Korea, Moldova, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, the United Kingdom, and the United States, as well as the European Union.