On Sunday, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine accused Russia of blocking the rotation of experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to the temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.
The ministry notes that Russia continues to actively militarise the Zaporizhzhia NPP and the surrounding area, which grossly violates the norms of international law, undermines the norms of nuclear and radiation safety, and "demonstrates complete disregard for the resolutions of the IAEA Board of Governors, which require Russia to immediately withdraw military equipment and Russian personnel from the ZNPP."
"If Russia is not stopped, its criminal actions at the Ukrainian nuclear facility could lead to a catastrophe, the scale of which was still unknown to Europe," the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
In this regard, the foreign ministry calls on the international community to impose sanctions against the Russian state corporation Rosatom, its affiliated companies and institutions, as well as other key factors in the Russian nuclear energy sector.
"Separately, we emphasise the urgency of a complete termination of cooperation with the Russian Federation in the field of nuclear technologies, as well as restrictions on Russia's rights and privileges in the IAEA. We look forward to the active efforts of IAEA Director General Raphael Grossi to counter the crimes of the Russian Federation," the ministry adds.
The situation at the ZNPP has been at the centre of attention since the beginning of August, when the Russian military began shelling the station. Russia has rejected calls for the demilitarisation of the Nuclear Power Plant under the pretext that it should "protect it" from provocations, blaming Ukraine for the shelling.
After a short mission to the ZNPP, the IAEA experts presented a report which confirmed that Russia has placed "military personnel, vehicles and equipment in various locations of the station". Since then, the agency's Director General, Raphael Grossi, has been negotiating with Kyiv and Moscow to create a nuclear safety zone around the plant.
Ukraine, as well as some EU countries, has been calling for the introduction of sanctions against Russia's nuclear sector for months; in particular, it concerns Russia's state nuclear regulator Rosatom, pointing out its involvement in the occupation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant.