Mon. Dec 5th, 2022

The UN nuclear watchdog called on Russia on Thursday to halt all actions at Ukraine’s nuclear facilities, diplomats said in a closed-door vote.

This is the third time that the 35-nation International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors has passed a resolution of this kind.

The text submitted by Canada and Finland states that the watchdog calls on Russia to immediately withdraw from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine, Reuters reports.

“(The Committee) expresses serious concern that the Russian Federation has not heeded the Committee’s calls to immediately cease all actions against and at nuclear facilities in Ukraine and requests that the Russian Federation do so immediately,” the text of the resolution reads.

Russia and China voted against the resolution, while Kenya, Namibia, India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Vietnam abstained, diplomats said.

Ukrainian personnel continue to operate Zaporizhzhia, Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, under conditions that the IAEA has said threaten the plant’s safety.

Both Moscow and Kyiv blame each other for the shelling that damaged buildings in Zaporozhye and cut power lines essential for cooling reactor fuel and avoiding a nuclear meltdown.

IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi called for the establishment of a buffer zone around the plant to stop shelling and reduce the risk of a catastrophic nuclear accident. The resolution stated that the board supports Grossi’s efforts.

“(The committee) expresses serious concern about the unacceptable pressure and detention of Ukrainian operational personnel at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant and the repeated interruption of external power supply following shelling in the surrounding area,” the resolution text added.