| 24 February 2024, Saturday |

Ukrainian minister sees no progress on deal for occupied nuclear plant

Ukraine’s energy minister stated that there were no signs of movement toward a compromise including Russia, Ukraine, and the United Nations nuclear watchdog to resolve the situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant.

The plant in southern Ukraine has been held by Russian military since immediately after Moscow’s invasion of its neighbor eight months ago, but it is still run by Ukrainian employees.

The situation at the plant is a source of international concern because of fears that repeated shelling of the plant’s territory – for which Kyiv and Moscow blame each other – could lead to a nuclear accident.

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, has held talks in Moscow and Kyiv in an effort to secure agreement on a safety and security protection zone around the plant.

Asked if he saw progress towards a deal, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko told Reuters in an interview: “Not at this stage.”

“I see that there were some messages from Rafael this week, that he again wants to discuss the framework of an agreement. I don’t know, maybe something changed in the Russian position, but I do not believe (in) any possibility to agree with Russia,” he said.


Asked at what point it would be too dangerous for Ukrainian staff to continue working at the plant, he said: “This point is a nuclear accident.”

Such an evacuation could only happen “several hours before (a) real catastrophe,” as Russia cannot substitute the thousands of Ukrainian staff at the plant, Halushchenko said.

  • Reuters