A Nigerian public affairs analyst, Emesakoru Enifome has submitted that the actions of Russian President, Vladimir Putin, grossly violate all norms of international law, adding that there is a double nuclear danger in the region.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and occupation of Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP), the Europe’s largest nuclear power station, have triggered the first real-world case of a crisis that security scholars have feared for decades – a threat of radiological disaster from a wartime incursion on an operating nuclear power plant.
He said the danger is as a result of a possible technogenic disaster at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant due to provocations and other dangerous activities of the occupiers, and secondly, as a result of threats to use Russian nuclear weapons in the region for the so-called ‘protection’ of allegedly ‘Russian territory’.
He said regular Russian provocative shelling of this nuclear facility created the conditions for a large-scale man-made disaster in the center of Europe.
‘This is undermining global security institutions in which all countries have a stake. In particular, Russia must cease all military operations at or near Ukraine’s nuclear facilities and return full control of the ZNPP. The requirement that it do so is rooted in international humanitarian law, which prohibits attacks against civilian targets and demands ‘particular care’ around nuclear power stations.
‘However, the de-occupation of the ZNPP is complicated by the criminal plans of the Russian Federation to appropriate not only the ZNPP with its super-powerful energy potential, but also the temporarily occupied territory of the Zaporizhzhia region, where the ZNPP is located or this, the Russian Federation organizes illegal, so-called “referendums”, and also announces the beginning of partial military mobilization in the Russian Federation on 21.09.2022, which, according to the Kremlin, will allow the final annexation of this sovereign territory of Ukraine by force,’ he said.
He said it has planned to declare these territories “Russian” and give them the so-called “nuclear security guarantees” from the Russian Federation, which, according to the Kremlin, will make Ukraine’s military operations to free them impossible.
He said, ‘In these conditions, the IAEA’s proposals for the creation of a security zone between the ‘two parties’, during which the ‘parties’ must “ceasefire” within the limits of only the “ZNPP perimeter”, the final withdrawal of the Russian occupation forces and the return of full control to Ukraine over the activities of the ZNPP and the corresponding territory, looks like an imitation of activity for formal reporting at the international level, and a significant threat of a nuclear disaster remains.’
He said Ukraine demands from the IAEA a clear and unequivocal announcement of tough demands specifically on the Russian occupiers regarding the withdrawal of their armed forces from the territory of Ukraine, in this case from the territory of the ZANP, as well as the cessation of extremely dangerous shelling of other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, in particular the Southern Ukrainian NPP. Already now, the IAEA should initiate consideration of international sanctions in the sphere of the Russian nuclear industry, the construction of nuclear power plants abroad and other projects.
“It should be noted that terrorist threats continue to be made from the Russian side regarding a possible missile attack on other nuclear facilities in Ukraine, in particular, the Khmelnytsky and Rivne Nuclear Power Plants. In addition, Russian occupation forces fired several times at the research institute in Kharkiv, which uses nuclear technologies. Considering the “new war plans” of the Kremlin, including total damage to the civil infrastructure of Ukraine, these threats already require an official and tough response at the international level,” he said.
According to him, only complete demilitarization and deoccupation and full return of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant to the full control of Ukraine is the only option for eliminating the nuclear threat created by the illegal actions of the Russian Federation.