Brussels' claim that Russia is threatening the facility allows Kiev to obstruct IAEA inspectors, Russia's Foreign Ministry says
Accusations that Moscow is jeopardizing the Zaporozhye Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) contradict the facts and allow Kiev to undermine the International Atomic Energy Agency's efforts to inspect the facility, Russia's Foreign Ministry said on Monday.
Russia's response comes after the EU released a statement on Sunday condemning the "unprovoked invasion of Ukraine" and accusing the Russian military of attacking the ZNPP and preventing nuclear and radiation safety from being maintained at the facility.
"Western countries are once again descending to outright lies, arguing that the threats to the ZNPP are created by Russia," said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova in a statement published on the ministry's website.
"Obviously, this contradicts the facts that we have repeatedly cited, including within the walls of the Security Council. It is undeniable that the attacks on the station and Energodar are carried out by Ukrainian armed groups acting on orders from Kiev."
Zakharova went on to suggest that the EU's statement was marked by "biased informational stuffing" and full of "blatant Russophobia and distorted facts." She noted that the authors of the text were obsessed with the so-called "Russian threat" and were using it to cover up their own foreign policy failures by putting "Russophobic foreign policy views above objectivity and the tasks of nonproliferation and nuclear security."
The spokeswoman also pointed out that such statements were being used by EU politicians to score "imaginary political points" while giving Kiev the go-ahead to create obstacles for an IAEA inspection of the plant.
"We strongly urge Washington, Brussels and other capitals, primarily European ones, to stop the irresponsible games and intrigues around the ZNPP and immediately influence the Kyiv authorities to force them to stop shelling the plant and its adjacent territories," Zakharova stated, adding that Moscow is in close cooperation with the IAEA and will do everything necessary to provide its specialists' with access to the power plant.
Located in the Russian-held city of Energodar in southern Ukraine, the Zaporozhye facility - the largest nuclear plant in Europe - has been subjected to a series of attacks over the past few weeks. Moscow has accused Kiev of launching artillery and drone strikes on the facility, denouncing the operations as "nuclear terrorism." Ukraine, however, claims Russia is the one targeting the plant in a plot to discredit Kiev's forces, also claiming Moscow has stationed troops at the facility to "shield" them from danger.
The UN has called the attacks "suicidal" and has proposed sending an IAEA delegation to the site to provide "technical support" and help avoid a further escalation.