The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) expressed “grave concern” Thursday over the situation at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant amid Russia’s military intervention in Ukraine.
The IAEA’s statement came after Ukraine announced that Kyiv had lost control of the Chernobyl nuclear plant in the country’s north after a fierce battle with Russian forces.
Ukraine’s regulatory body had earlier informed the IAEA that it is maintaining communications with the country’s operational nuclear power plants, which it said are operating safely and securely.
According to the statement, the Ukraine regulatory body said there had been no casualties or destruction at the industrial site.
Rafael Mariano Grossi, the director-general of Vienna-based IAEA, highlighted that 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.”
Recalling a 2009 decision adopted by the IAEA, he said “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.”
On Thursday, the US condemned reports that Russian forces had taken staff of the Chernobyl nuclear waste storage facility in Ukraine hostage and called for their release.
In 1986, an accident known as the world’s worst nuclear disaster occurred at the fourth reactor in the Chernobyl nuclear power plant, located 16 kilometers (10 miles) from the city of Pripyat — which was built in the 1970s to house workers at the plant — in the north of the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic.