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UN: Return Nuke Plant to Ukraine       07/12 06:22

   The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution Thursday demanding that 
Russia urgently withdraw its military and personnel from Europe's largest 
nuclear power plant and immediately return the facility to Ukraine.

   UNITED NATIONS (AP) -- The U.N. General Assembly adopted a resolution 
Thursday demanding that Russia urgently withdraw its military and personnel 
from Europe's largest nuclear power plant and immediately return the facility 
to Ukraine.

   The resolution also reiterates the assembly's demands for Russia to 
immediately "cease its aggression against Ukraine" and withdraw all troops, and 
again reaffirms the 193-member world body's commitment to Ukraine's 
"sovereignty, independence, unity and territorial integrity."

   The resolution was approved by a vote of 99-9 with 60 countries abstaining 
and 25 countries not voting.

   Russia was joined by Belarus, Cuba, Eritrea, Mali, Nicaragua, Syria, Burundi 
and North Korea in opposing the resolution. China, India, South Africa and many 
Middle Eastern countries were among those abstaining.

   The resolution expresses "grave concern over the precarious nuclear safety 
and security situation at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant." It says 
returning the plant to Ukraine's full control will ensure its safety and 
security and enable the International Atomic Energy Agency "to conduct safe, 
efficient and effective safeguards."

   Fears of a nuclear catastrophe have been at the forefront since Russian 
troops occupied the plant shortly after invading Ukraine in February 2022. 
Zaporizhzhia, which has six nuclear reactors, sits in Russian-controlled 
territory in southeastern Ukraine near the front lines and has been continually 
caught in crossfire.

   The IAEA has repeatedly expressed alarm about cuts to Zaporizhzhia's 
electricity, which is crucial for the plant's operation, and the plants' supply 
issues. Without attributing blame, IAEA Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi 
told the U.N. Security Council on April 15 that his agency had confirmed three 
attacks against Zaporizhzhia since April 7.

   Both Ukraine and Russia have regularly accused the other of attacking the 
plant, and the accusations continued on Thursday.

   Ukraine's U.N. ambassador Sergiy Kyslytsya introduced the resolution, 
telling the General Assembly that Russia "continues to violate key principles 
of technological and physical nuclear security" and continues to attack the 
plant.

   Ukraine and neighboring countries suffered "the disastrous consequences" of 
the nuclear explosion at the Chernobyl plant in 1986, he said, but the 
repercussions of a possible incident at Zaporizhzhia "which has been 
deliberately turned into a key component for the military strategy of Russia 
would be even more catastrophic."

   Kyslytsya warned that "if we simply stand with our arms crossed, that good 
luck will not last forever, and an incident will be inevitable."

   "Nuclear security and protection depend on our ability to adopt a strong and 
common stance on the inadmissibility of the continued occupation and 
militarization of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant," the Ukrainian 
ambassador said.

   Russia's deputy U.N. ambassador Dmitry Polyansky accused Ukraine and its 
Western supporters of trying to push through the resolution with the real goal 
of getting the General Assembly's "blessing" for the outcome of last month's 
Ukraine peace conference in Switzerland and "sneaking in political elements."

   In the conference communique, nearly 80 countries called for the 
"territorial integrity" of Ukraine to be the basis for any peace agreement to 
end the war. It also said Zaporizhzhia and other nuclear plants must remain 
under Ukrainian control in line with IAEA principles.

   Polyansky accused the communique's supporters of trying "to promote the 
false Western narrative about the source of threats to nuclear facilities in 
Ukraine." He claimed that the only threat to nuclear facilities in Ukraine 
today is from Kyiv's "regular, reckless attacks on the Zaporizhzhia nuclear 
power plant," its related infrastructure, and the nearby city where plant 
employees and their families live.

 
 
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