At UNSC meet, India seeks safety of atomic facilities after Zaporizhzhia fire

Published on Mar 05, 2022 03:22 AM IST

Russia-Ukraine crisis: India’s permanent representative at the UN TS Tirumurti said it was regrettable that the situation in Ukraine worsened since the last UNSC meeting on the situation

Surveillance camera footage shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following shelling, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine on March 4 (Zaporizhzhya NPP via REUTERS)
Surveillance camera footage shows the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant following shelling, amid the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in Enerhodar, Zaporizhia Oblast, Ukraine on March 4 (Zaporizhzhya NPP via REUTERS)
ByRezaul H Laskar, New Delhi

India on Friday called for ensuring the safety and security of atomic facilities following a fire at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in Ukraine but refrained from criticising Russia on the matter at an emergency meeting of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

TS Tirumurti, India’s permanent representative at the UN, said it was regrettable the situation in Ukraine had worsened further since the last meeting of the Security Council on the situation in Ukraine. “An immediate cessation of violence and end to all hostilities are essential,” he said.

Russian troops seized Europe’s largest nuclear power plant after heavy fighting, triggering a global alarm. A major fire in a training building was extinguished. Officials said the facility was safe. Some buildings in the complex were hit by shelling, and Ukraine said this caused deaths and injuries.

The Russian attack on Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant was reckless, US permanent representative Linda Thomas-Greenfield told UNSC. “By the grace of God, the world narrowly averted a nuclear catastrophe last night,” she said.

The Indian side’s statement on the issue made no reference to Russia, which has denied attacking the nuclear plant and blamed the fire on Ukrainian “saboteurs”.

India is following developments regarding the safety and security of Ukraine’s nuclear power reactors and facilities, and attaches the highest importance to ensuring safety and security of nuclear facilities as “any accident involving the nuclear facilities may have severe consequences for public health and the environment”, Tirumurti said.

He added that India accords the highest priority to the discharge by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) of its safeguards and monitoring activities in an “effective, non-discriminatory and efficient manner”.

Tirumurti also used the occasion to raise the “pressing humanitarian crisis” in Ukraine, “where safety and security of innocent civilians, including several thousand Indian nationals, in particular students, are at stake”.

India hopes the second round of talks between the two sides contributes to the “immediate establishment of a safe humanitarian corridor”, he said.

Tirumurti added: “As reiterated by my prime minister in his conversations with global leaders, including of the Russian Federation and Ukraine, differences must be resolved through sustained dialogue and diplomacy.”

Commitment to the principles of the UN Charter, international law and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of all states are key principles in this regard, he said.

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