MOSCOW, August 16 (RIA Novosti) - Russia is ready to provide the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) with full access to nuclear facilities in Crimea, Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“We are ready to provide the Agency [IAEA] with full access to conduct inspections,” the statement says.
The commentary comes in response to Kiev’s claims over the legal status of nuclear facilities based in Crimea.
On Friday, the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry said in its comment that the Russian side has been handed over a note, which stresses that all nuclear facilities and materials located on the territory of Crimea and Sevastopol are the property of Ukraine.
“Their legal status, operation and maintenance procedure are defined by Ukraine's legislation, as well as the provisions of the agreement between Ukraine and the International Atomic Energy Association for the application of safeguards in connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons of September 21, 1995,” Ukrainian Foreign Ministry’s statement reads.
Russia reminded that Crimea joined Russia following the referendum held in March.
“Acting within the boundaries of its jurisdiction, the Russian Federation took over full responsibility over the nuclear facilities located on the territory of its new territorial entities [Crimea and Sevastopol],” Russia’s Foreign Ministry said.
Crimea refused to recognize the legitimacy of the government in Kiev, which seized power as a result of a coup in February, and rejoined Russia after a referendum that saw over 96 percent of voters in the region back the motion to leave Ukraine.
Crimea and Sevastopol, which have a special status within the region, became part of the Russian Federation on March 21 after Russian President Vladimir Putin signed reunification documents into law.