The UN secretary general, António Guterres, has called for a demilitarised zone around the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant, involving the withdrawal of Russian occupying troops and the agreement of Ukrainian forces not to move in.
Guterres was addressing a UN security council session on Tuesday, at which he supported the recommendations put forward Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) who led an inspection visit to the occupied Zaporizhzhia plant last week, and presented a report to the security council. The report confirmed the presence of Russian soldiers and military equipment at the plant, including army vehicles.
“We are playing with fire and something very, very catastrophic could take place. This is why in our report, we are proposing the establishment of a nuclear safety and security protection zone limited to the perimeter and the plant itself,” Grossi said.
Guterres said that, as a first step, Russian and Ukrainian forces should cease all military operations around the plant.
“As a second step, an agreement on a demilitarised perimeter should be secured,” he added. “Specifically, that will include the commitment by Russian forces to withdraw military personnel and equipment from that perimeter and the commitment by Ukrainian forces not to move in.”