I wish to express my strong condemnation of the latest shelling at and around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe's largest nuclear power plant, which has caused significant damage to infrastructure, including near the dry storage of spent nuclear fuel within the nuclear power plant perimeter.
This reckless behaviour by the Russian military forces poses a great danger to the plant's safe operation increasing significantly the risk of a nuclear accident and must not happen again.
While information obtained from EU's radioactivity monitoring systems as well as international sources does not indicate any increase of radioactivity in Ukraine or EU nor any immediate radiation threat, military activities around nuclear power plants are unacceptably dangerous. The EU calls on Russia to ensure that repair works can be rapidly implemented and that the safety of the workers involved in them and in the operation of the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant is guaranteed.
The EU reaffirms that the deployment of Russian military personnel and weaponry at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear facility is an open violation of all internationally agreed safety, security and safeguards provisions. The Russian military and other personnel must withdraw from the site without delay so that the Ukrainian operator can operate the plant safely and as an integral part of Ukraine's energy system and electricity grid. Ukrainian nuclear safety authorities must be allowed to exercise fully their regulatory control, including access to the site in view of carrying out their duties in accordance with international conventions and IAEA safety standards.
The Commission services are in close contact with both the IAEA and the Ukrainian authorities to assess risks stemming from recent incidents and support remedial actions. They will continue to monitor closely the situation with regard to the nuclear safety in Zaporizhzhia and more broadly in Ukraine.
The EU is the largest provider of material assistance to Ukraine totalling over 400 million EUR so far, notably for crucial chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear (CBRN) protection equipment. The Commission will also continue to provide its assistance to the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and the Exclusion Zone through the European Instrument for International Nuclear Safety Cooperation (INSC) to alleviate the damage caused by the Russian troops, which up to now has been estimated to about 80 million EUR additional assistance.
Russia must bear full responsibility in front of the international community for its aggression to Ukraine and for its unlawful and reckless actions, including on nuclear safety.