- Sputnik International, 1920, 25.02.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
On February 24, Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, aiming to liberate the Donbass region where the people's republics of Donetsk and Lugansk had been living under regular attacks from Kiev's forces.

Talks on Creating ZNPP Safety Zone 'Not Easy', Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Says

© Sputnik / Konstantin MikhalchevskyFragment of the stele at the entrance to the territory of the Zaporozhye NPP in Energodar.
Fragment of the stele at the entrance to the territory of the Zaporozhye NPP in Energodar. - Sputnik International, 1920, 30.01.2023
MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The negotiations on the creation of a safety zone around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP) are "not going easy," with Kiev "playing for time" on this issue, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov told Sputnik.
"It would be wrong to make public information about the possible parameters of the ZNPP safety zone, while consultations with the IAEA are underway. The negotiation process is not easy. We have submitted our proposals to the agency's Director General Rafael Grossi. As far as we know, Kiev has not yet provided a clear answer to the IAEA head's initiative. Apparently, they are just playing for time," Ryabkov said.
He also recalled that Ukraine had repeatedly shelled the ZNPP, causing damage to its infrastructure and "thereby demonstrating its utter disregard for the possible risks associated with the safety of nuclear facilities."
"Kiev seems to be using this facility for nuclear blackmail. This indicates once again that nothing can deter the Ukrainian authorities. Apparently, the Ukrainian leadership has become convinced of its own impunity for the crimes committed, while relying on the support of its sponsors," the Russian senior diplomat added.
At the same time, Ryabkov also said that the IAEA had not tried to intervene in how the protection of the ZNPP was organized and had not urged the withdrawal of Russia's National Guard from the station.
"The proposal to remove the National Guard's units from the ZNPP is actually voiced by some representatives of Ukraine and Western states supporting the Kiev regime. The plant is located on the Russian territory. In accordance with our legislation, units of the Russian National Guard protect all Russian nuclear facilities, including the ZNPP. Neither the IAEA Secretariat, nor the agency's member states have the right to interfere in organizing the security management of nuclear power plants of any state," Ryabkov told Sputnik.
The diplomat added that Moscow was in regular contact with Grossi through the permanent mission in Vienna.
Zaporozhye NPP cooling pools. - Sputnik International, 1920, 07.12.2022
Russia's Special Operation in Ukraine
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"The director general's visit to Russia is quite possible when additional coordination of our interaction is required," Ryabkov said.
In December 2022, French President Emmanuel Macron said that the IAEA had achieved the "withdrawal of heavy and light weapons" from the ZNPP. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov stressed that Russia had never deployed any heavy weapons at the nuclear plant and added that Moscow was continuing talks with the IAEA on the security of the station.
The Zaporozhye NPP, located on the left bank of the Dnepr River, is the largest nuclear power plant in Europe in terms of the number of units and output. During the military operation in Ukraine, launched by Russia on February 24, 2022, the facility and the surrounding area fell under the control by the Russian forces. The NPP has been targeted by multiple shelling, raising international concerns over a possible nuclear accident. Russia and Ukraine have been accusing each other of shelling the facility. The IAEA has repeatedly stated the need to create a safety zone around the ZNPP.
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