IAEA calls for safety zone around Zaporizhzhia

The International Atomic Energy Agency has sounded the alarm. The situation at Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, which is controlled by the Russian military, is "untenable", according to the report put out by the Agency after a visit to the facility. Commentators examine why the report fails to accuse Russia of war crimes and see the IAEA in a difficult position.

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NV (UA) /

Agency maintains its neutrality

We should not expect more from the International Atomic Energy Agency than it can deliver, political scientist Volodymyr Fessenko writes in NV:

“As expected, the IAEA is trying to maintain a formal neutrality in this report, while admitting at least indirectly that the main risks result from the fact that the facility is occupied by Russian troops. ... All international organisations over which Russia has some influence, including the IAEA, are striving to appear neutral and therefore appealing to both warring parties. As a result, we must not expect anything earth-shattering from the IAEA. ... What it can do is continue to monitor the situation at the plant, and if possible set up a permanent mission there.”

Deutschlandfunk (DE) /

Rosatom pushing its own agenda

It's hardly surprising that the IAEA has not said a word about Russia being responsible for the war, says Deutschlandfunk:

“According to its statutes, the IAEA is committed to cooperation in the field of nuclear energy, to its safe and peaceful use. Russia is the world's largest player in the field of nuclear energy, developing and selling nuclear power plants to numerous countries, supplying them with fuel rods and, if necessary, granting loans for their construction. The strings come together at the Russian State Nuclear Energy Corporation Rosatom, which was founded by the decree of President Vladimir Putin. It is safe to assume that Rosatom is doing everything it can to promote the interests of the Russian ruling elite in the IAEA.”

Dmytro Lubinets (UA) /

IAEA silent on war crimes

Writing on his Facebook page, Dmytro Lubinets, Chairman of the Ukrainian Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights, voices his disappointment with the IAEA report:

“It only mentions the stressful conditions, pressure and threats faced by staff at the plant, but not the known extrajudicial executions and torture of staff by the Russian military. Even though the IAEA mission has repeatedly stated that it does not want to be used for political discussions, it is vital to recognise that the safety of the staff is not a policy but a basic principle of nuclear safety. And it is unacceptable to remain silent on the war crimes committed by the Russian military, which de facto controls the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, against the staff working there.”

La Repubblica (IT) /

Enormous pressure could provoke fatal errors

La Repubblica highlights the crucial nature of the human factor in the current situation:

“The Ukrainian technicians who operate the plant - under the physical control of the Russian soldiers but also in contact with the Ukrainian government - are under pressure. They are not free to make decisions and they have not left the plant for forty days. This could lead to errors, in a context where they must be avoided at all costs.”