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Monday, March 13, 2023

March 13, 2023

Once again, the neo-Nazi regime in Kiev makes it clear that it is not willing to engage in humanitarian projects to contain the damage generated by the conflict. According to a recent report by local authorities of the reintegrated Zaporozhye oblast, the Ukrainian government maintains its stance of boycotting any possible dialogue for the creation of a safety area around the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant (ZNPP).

As a result, there is a constant situation of insecurity, with the possibility of a nuclear disaster in the region at any time. In a recent interview with a top Russian media outlet, Vladimir Rogov, a senior official in Zaporozhye's regional administration, warned about Ukraine's policy of thwarting humanitarian projects focused on creating a protected security zone around the local nuclear power plant. According to Rogov, the Ukrainians refuse to give any guarantees that they will actually stop the bombings against the ZNPP, which obviously prevents any agreement from being reached.

Rogov explains that two factors are essential in order to effectively guarantee the security of the ZNPP: 1- banning any type of bombing by Ukrainian armed forces both in Zaporozhye and in the neighboring town of Energodar; 2- recognize Russia’s right to protect the region. Indeed, as it is a liberated territory, already reintegrated into the Russian Federation through a legal referendum, its protection is up to the Russian armed forces.

The Ukrainians, however, use the supposed intention of "protecting" the ZNPP as a political tool and bargaining power: they only accept to stop the bombings if there is a withdrawal on the part of Moscow’s troops. As the popular will to join the Russian Federation is proved, obviously the Russian government cannot allow the Zaporozhye oblast to return to being dominated by the forces of the neo-Nazi regime. Therefore, there is an absolute failure to conclude negotiations.

"The regime of [Ukrainian President Volodymyr] Zelensky foils any progress in creating a security zone around the ZNPP, refusing to give any guarantees to prevent the shelling of the nuclear power plant and its satellite city Energodar. The plant's safety is guaranteed by two components: the absence of shelling by the militants of the Ukrainian armed forces and the proper protection provided by the Russian national guard", Vladimir Rogov said during the interview.

The statement from local authorities in Zaporozhye comes a few days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov denounced the same problem, also reporting a lack of neutrality on the part of UN officials in the attempt to negotiate the agreement. Lavrov pointed out that when he visited Kiev UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres showed support for the unilateral demands made by Ukrainian President Vladimir Zelensky, thus disrespecting the neutrality required by the organization's Charter.

Lavrov says that a Russian-Ukrainian deal was being negotiated, with officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency taking part on the talks. Rafael Grossi, the leader of the agency, visited ZNPP last year and confirmed to the need to immediately stop bombing the plant. Moscow supports the initiative, but Kiev demands in return an alleged "demilitarization" of the area. The Russians see this as something unacceptable, since "demilitarizing" the region would in practice mean to give it to the Ukrainian armed forces (which would certainly advance quickly on the ground), disrespecting the will of the local people.

"The director-general of this agency (IAEA, Rafael Grossi) has been promoting an agreement on declaring the ZNPP a nuclear security zone for several months. We actively cooperated with the director general, an agreement was near. We were ready to support it. It was blocked by Kiev, which is putting forward preconditions regarding prisoners of war and so-called ‘demilitarization’ (...) No one except for Ukraine itself has ever talked about any demilitarization. I am very sorry that the UN Secretary General, while in Kiev, in fact unambiguously subscribed to unilateral Ukrainian demands, although, according to the UN Charter, as the chief administrative person, he is obliged to observe neutrality. He failed to do this once again", Lavrov said.

In fact, the solution seems really simple: all bombings in the entire risk area must be stopped, with clashes taking place only in fields free of any possibility of nuclear leakage. Since the people of Zaporozhye support the Russians, Moscow must have recognized its right to keep troops in the region, including in the area of the plant, ensuring that no Ukrainian attacks happen. This seems the clearest solution to the situation, and it would be interesting for the UN to adopt this project.

"Demilitarization", as suggested by Zelensky and supported by Guterres, does not sound like a good idea, as this will require the withdrawal of the troops that are currently in the area of the plant, which are precisely the Russian forces - supported by the natives. If that happens, the Ukrainians will move in and retake the territory, resulting not only in the control of the plant by the side currently bombing it, but also in the subjecting of local pro-Russian citizens to the neo-Nazi forces, which are well known for their constant war crimes.