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India expresses concern over shelling near Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant

Ukraine's Zaporizhzhia nuclear power (Pic. Courtesy: Twitter/@Podolyak_M)

India on Thursday expressed its concern over the reports of shelling near the fuel storage facility of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Ukraine and called for mutual restraint as the Russian military operations entered nearly six months.

Addressing a UNSC Briefing, India's Permanent Representative to the United Nations Ruchira Kamboj said, " India expresses its concern over the reports of shelling near the spent fuel storage facility of the Zaporizhya Nuclear Power Plant. We call for mutual restraint so as not to endanger the safety and security of nuclear facilities." This statement came after Ukraine accused Russia of shelling the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) again on Thursday.

Kamboj said that they are following the developments regarding the safety and security of Ukraine's nuclear power reactors and facilities. She further added that India attaches high importance to ensuring the safety and security of nuclear facilities, as any accident involving nuclear facilities could potentially have severe consequences for public health and the environment.

"We also accord high priority to the discharge by the IAEA of its safeguards and monitoring activities, in accordance with its Statute in an effective, non- discriminatory and efficient manner, and we value the efforts of the Agency in this regard. We have noted the latest information available with regard to the nuclear power plants and facilities in Ukraine, including the updates published on August 9 and 10 by the IAEA, and today's updates on developments," Kamboj said.

India continues to remain concerned over the situation in Ukraine. Kamboj reminded the UNSC that ever since the conflict between the two countries started, India has consistently called for an immediate cessation of hostilities and an end to violence. India has called upon both sides to return to the path of diplomacy and dialogue. India supports all diplomatic efforts to end the conflict.

"While we are discussing the nuclear dimension of this conflict, we need also to be acutely cognizant of the impact of the Ukraine conflict on developing countries, particularly, on the supply of food grains, fertilizer and fuel. It is important for all of us to appreciate the importance of equity, affordability, and accessibility when it comes to food grains. Open markets must not become an argument to perpetuate inequity and promote discrimination," she added.

Kamboj also welcomed the Secretary General-backed initiative to open the exports of grains from Ukraine via the Black Sea and the facilitation of the exports of Russian food and fertilizers.

"These efforts demonstrate that differences can be resolved through sustained dialogue and diplomacy, which has been the consistent position of India. We continue to reiterate that the global order should be anchored on international law, the UN Charter and respect for the territorial integrity and sovereignty of states," she noted.

Earlier, over the Zaporizhzhia NPP attack, Zelenskyy urged the international community to force the Russian army to leave the occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant after multiple strikes hit the compound.

"The entire world must react immediately to chase out the occupiers from Zaporizhzhia. Only the Russians' full withdrawal… would guarantee nuclear safety for all of Europe," Zelenskyy said in his daily video address.

Moscow and Kyiv have each accused the other of striking the compound on Thursday and over the weekend.

Notably, Russia launched a "special military operation" in Ukraine on February 24, which the West has termed an unprovoked war. As a result of this, the Western countries have also imposed several crippling sanctions on Moscow.

Also read: Russia raises doubts over Black Sea Grain deal citing Lebanon fiasco