Russian forces launched a full-scale assault on Ukraine, with its military attacking the country from the north, east and south. Ukraine’s minister of health said 57 people were killed and 160 wounded on Thursday.
Russian President Vladimir Putin earlier announced a “special military operation” in Ukraine’s eastern Donbas region.
In a televised address, he urged Ukrainian soldiers who are facing off Russian-backed rebels to lay down weapons and return to their homes.
This comes after Russian troops were positioned at the border with Ukraine prior to the operation and global leaders held talks in an effort to find an alternative.
Following is a statement on the situation in Ukraine from Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Mariano Grossi.
“The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is following the situation in Ukraine with grave concern and is appealing for maximum restraint to avoid any action that may put the country’s nuclear facilities at risk, Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said today.
Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi. (Internet image)
“In line with its mandate, the IAEA is closely monitoring developments in Ukraine with a special focus on the safety and security of its nuclear power plants and other nuclear-related facilities, he said.
“The Ukraine regulatory body, the counterpart, has earlier informed the IAEA that it is maintaining communications with Ukraine’s operational nuclear power plants, which it said are operating safely and securely.
“Regarding the situation at the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant, Ukraine has informed the IAEA that ”unidentified armed forces” have taken control of all facilities of the State Specialised Enterprise Chornobyl NPP, located within the Exclusion Zone. The counterpart added that there had been no casualties nor destruction at the industrial site.
“Grossi said it is of vital importance that the safe and secure operations of the nuclear facilities in that zone should not be affected or disrupted in any way.
“Grossi said the IAEA general conference – the annual gathering of all the organisation’s member states – adopted a decision in 2009 saying “any armed attack on and threat against nuclear facilities devoted to peaceful purposes constitutes a violation of the principles of the United Nations Charter, international law and the Statute of the Agency”.
“The IAEA remains in permanent contact with its Ukrainian counterpart.” (PR)