I would like to thank you for the opportunity to speak in the Council today which is of greatest concern to my country. I would like to thank the Secretary-General Guterres and Director General Grossi for their briefings. We thank DG Grossi for his leadership in this question and very much welcome his recent report on Zaporizhzhia. Our appreciation also goes out to the IAEA team on the ground and the Ukrainian operating staff in Zaporizhzhia who continue to work under extremly diificult consitions
My country remains deeply concerned about the immense danger to nuclear safety resulting from Russia’s unprovoked and illegal war of aggression against Ukraine, a nuclear danger that could threaten the entire European continent and beyond.
There can be no doubt who is responsible for this precarious situation. It is the Russian Federation who attacked its neighbour Ukraine and illegally occupied parts of Ukraine´s territory, including the premises of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant. Without Russia’s aggression, we would not be sitting here for the third time discussing a blatant lack of nuclear safety and security in Europe, and, there would be no risk of a nuclear incident with consequences reaching far beyond Ukraine’s borders.
In contrast to Russia’s false claims, it is the Russian seizure of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant that poses a serious threat to the safety and security of this site. It is Russia that is militarizing the power plant. It is Russia that places equipment and troops on the premises. And this has created the dangerous situation in Zaporizhzhya. This can be changed by the Russian Federation at any moment by demilitarizing the site and we call upon Russia to do so.
Under the curent circumstances, it has been of utmost importance to investigate this situation and to assess the safety of the plant’s operations on the ground. Germany, nationally and as G7 president, was amongst those countries who actively pushed for this mission to be deployed as a matter of urgency. Germany thanks the IAEA for conducting this mission under exceptionally difficult circumstances. We agree with the Director General that the situation at the plant remains of grave concern for nuclear security, amongst other with regard to the infrastructure and power lines as well as for the safety of the operating staff. It is of utmost importance that this mission can continue its work at the power plant and remain present on the site. The IAEA must be able to permanently respond to safety, security and safeguards concerns related to the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant.
Finally, we demand that Russia hand back full control of the Zaporizhzhya Nuclear Power Plant to its rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, in order to ensure its safe and secure operations and to provide for a continued electricity supply to the Ukrainian Population.
The Russian Federation must change course, fully respect the letter and spirit of the UN Charter and withdraw its armed forces from all Ukrainian territories. The Russian Federation must comply with the legally binding order of the International Court of Justice to immediately suspend all military operations against Ukraine. Germany will continue to support the territorial integrity and political independence of Ukraine within its internationally recognized borders.