This was emphasized by Ukraine’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Yevhenii Tsymbaliuk during a special meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna on Thursday, an Ukrinform correspondent reports.
During his speech, the Ukrainian ambassador informed foreign delegations that on March 4, Europe was on the verge of a nuclear catastrophe, as Russian troops fired on the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant – the largest nuclear facility in Europe. "Russian shells hit the area hosting the spent nuclear fuel storage facility. Besides, nuclear reactor premises were shelled directly. Tsymbaliuk went on to question the level of responsibility of someone who gave the order to open fire in the area.
He pointed out that in the event of damage to the nuclear power plant by Russian strikes, there could be a massive release of radioactive substances. It is estimated that the radioactive cloud would primarily spread in the direction of Russia, up to 1,100 km away from the NPP. And within two days, it would also reach the Black Sea coast and the territories of Bulgaria and Turkey.
"So, I have a traditional question to Russian diplomats: how do you feel about such irresponsible orders of your leadership? Are you also indifferent to your compatriots?" the Ukrainian ambassador inquired.
At the same time, he drew the attention of the delegations of the OSCE participating States to the fact that Russia is spreading lies about its seizure of the Zaporizhia NPP – both that the station had allegedly been under Russian control since February 28 and that the Ukrainian forces allegedly attacked own nuclear power plants.
Tsymbaliuk pointed out that the personnel operating both the ZNPP and the Chernobyl NPP are currently forced to work in a difficult psychological environment, with pressure being exerted on them by the invaders.
He also said that on March 6, Russian troops fired on the Kharkiv Research Institute of Physics and Technology, damaging the Neutron Source nuclear facility. "Such an attack creates risks of radioactive contamination. In fact, Russia is now committing acts of nuclear terrorism, isn't it?"sSaid the head of Ukraine's Mission to the OSCE.
Against this background, the Ukrainian ambassador pointed out that Russian troops are currently heading for another station, the Yuzhnoukrainska NPP. He stressed that this was a violation of Article 56 of the Additional Protocol to the Geneva Conventions of August 12, 1949, which prohibits any attack on nuclear power plants. "This proves once again that Russia's behavior is unpredictable and must be contained before it leads to another catastrophe in Europe," Tsymbaliuk said.
As Ukrinform reported earlier, on the night of Friday, March 4, Russian troops fired on the Zaporizhia NPP. Power unit 1 was hit and a fire broke out in the administrative building located at the premises. After heavy fighting and artillery shelling of the industrial site, the Zaporizhia NPP was seized by the Russian military.
Energoatom issued a statement to the international community, warning that the shelling violated the nuclear and radiation safety of Europe's largest nuclear facility, which could have serious and tragic implications for the whole world.