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Kremlin Says Kyiv can End the Suffering by Ending the Risk of a Nuclear and Radioactive Catastrophe

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine appealed to the United Nations Security Council to take action against Russia, accusing it of committing a "crime against humanity" through its ongoing missile attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure.

November 24, 2022
23 minutes
minute read

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine appealed to the United Nations Security Council to take action against Russia, accusing it of committing a "crime against humanity" through its ongoing missile attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Zelenskyy urged the Council to put an end to the suffering of the Ukrainian people and hold Russia accountable for its actions.

As Russia continues to pound Ukraine's energy facilities, millions of civilians are living without power, water or heat. Ten people died yesterday as a result of further shelling, one Ukrainian official said. Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said Russia had fired 70 missiles at civilian infrastructure.

"When we have the temperature below zero, and further millions of people stay without energy supplies, without heating, without water, this is an obvious crime against humanity," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has called for a "very firm reaction" from the international community to Wednesday's airstrikes in Syria. Speaking to the UN Security Council, Zelenskyy urged the council to "make specific steps to protect humanity and life."

Ambassador Linda Thomas-Greenfield, the U.S. Representative to the United Nations, told the council that Russia's attacks on infrastructure are a "shameful escalation" of its already brutal and unjustifiable war.

Although the council has the power to act, Russia, as one of five permanent members with a veto over any resolutions, can limit the council's power.

Ukraine's armed forces have accused Russia of preparing provocations on Belarusian soil in an attempt to drag Minsk into the war.

The General Staff of Ukraine’s armed forces has warned Belarusians that the Russian Federation is plotting provocations on their territory. The target of these terror attacks may be objects of critical infrastructure, such as the Ostrovets nuclear power plant. This information was reported by Ukrainian news agency Ukrinform.

The Russian General Staff has said that Russia's goal is to force Belarus to join it in fighting the war against Ukraine "by any means." However, Ukraine has insisted that it does not consider Belarus to be an enemy.

The General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine has stated that Ukraine does not consider Belarus to be an enemy, and that they have no plans to carry out any aggressive actions on Belarusian territory. They urged Belarusians to be vigilant and understand the situation.

Ukraine's armed forces have not stated what evidence they have to back up their claims. They have previously stated that they believe Russia could look to drag Belarus into the war, however, and that a "false flag" attack could be used to do so.

As millions of Ukrainians struggle with power, heat and water shortages as a result of Russian missile strikes, the Kremlin has said that Kyiv can end the people's suffering by meeting its demands.

"The Ukrainian government has the ability to resolve the current situation and meet the demands of the Russian side, thereby preventing further suffering of the civilian population," Dmitry Peskov, the Kremlin's spokesman, said Thursday, according to Russian state news agency Tass.

Peskov did not reiterate what Russia's demands are, but they have changed throughout the conflict. At one point, Moscow demanded that NATO roll back its deployments to eastern Europe. Later, they demanded that Ukraine would never be admitted to the military alliance.

Then, when Russia invaded Ukraine in February, it said its aims were to “demilitarise and de-Nazify Ukraine,” promoting a false and baseless accusation about Kyiv’s leadership. It later changed its war aims to the “liberation” of Donbas, in eastern Ukraine, where two pro-Russian separatist “republics” are based. Ukraine has said it will not stop fighting until it has reclaimed all of its territory that’s occupied by Russian forces.

After Wednesday's attacks, Russia created a real danger of a nuclear and radioactive catastrophe by disconnecting all of Ukraine's nuclear reactors from the power grid. This could have devastating consequences for the country and its people.

This marked the first time in 40 years that this has happened, according to a statement from Petro Kotin, the head of Ukraine's nuclear power company Energoatom, on Thursday.

Yesterday, November 23, 2022, a tragic event occurred in the history of the Ukrainian nuclear power industry. Due to damage to the power infrastructure, emergency protection was triggered at the Rivne, South Ukrainian and Khmelnytsky NPPs, resulting in a decrease in frequency in the power system. This event highlights the importance of having a reliable power infrastructure in place to prevent such disasters from occurring.

"All power units at these stations were automatically disconnected from the power grid," Kotin said. "The temporarily occupied Zaporizhzhia NPP, which has been inactive since September of this year, went into full blackout mode with the start-up of all diesel generators. Thus, for the first time in the 40-year history of the Ukrainian nuclear power industry, all NPP power units were shut down."

He noted that while nuclear power plants have reliable safety systems and are staffed by experienced personnel, this should not be reassuring.

"There is a real danger of a nuclear and radiation disaster if Russia were to shell the entire territory of Ukraine with cruise and ballistic missiles," he warned. He noted that the Zaporizhzhia nuclear powerplant, Europe's largest, had been reconnected to the national power grid after Russian air strikes yesterday.

The European Union is moving forward with a ninth round of sanctions against Russia in response to Moscow's attack on Ukraine, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen said during a visit to Finland on Thursday.

"We are working hard to hit Russia where it hurts to blunt even further its capacity to wage war on Ukraine," von der Leyen told a news conference. "I can announce today that we are working full speed on a 9th sanctions package."

"I am confident that we will soon approve a global price cap on Russian oil with the G7 and other major partners," she said. "We will not rest until Ukraine has prevailed over Putin and his unlawful and barbaric war."

In the past two weeks, Russia has probably redeployed the main units of its airborne forces (or VDV) to the Donetsk and Luhansk fronts, according to the U.K.'s Ministry of Defence.

The Ministry of Defense has released its latest intelligence update, which shows that from September to October, most of the VDV units were dedicated to the defense of Russian-held territory west of the Dnieper river in the Kherson region.

Since the Russian withdrawal from the western bank of the Dnieper earlier in November, most of these troops have likely been moved to eastern Ukraine, where the fighting remains intense in the Luhansk and Donetsk areas of the Donbas region.

According to the ministry, some VDV units have likely been reinforced with mobilised reservists. Although these poorly trained personnel will dilute VDV’s supposedly elite capability, Russia will likely still allocate these units to sectors deemed especially important.

The VDV could potentially be used to support the defence of the Kremina-Svatove area in Luhansk Oblast or to reinforce offensive operations against the town of Bakhmut in Donetsk Oblast, the ministry said.

The mayor of Kyiv said that 70% of the city is still without electricity, and energy workers are working all night to restore power supplies. This follows missile attacks that targeted the city on Wednesday.

The water supply has already been restored on the left bank of the city, and we plan to restore it on the right bank in the first half of Thursday, Mayor Vitaly Klitschko said on Telegram Thursday morning. He added that 70% of the capital still remains without electricity, but energy companies are making every effort to return it as soon as possible. However, they note that this will depend on the restoration of balance in the energy system of Ukraine since Kyiv is part of the national energy system.

Ukraine's Interior Minister Denys Monastyrsky said on Facebook that three apartment buildings had been hit and that 10 people had been killed. Kyiv was not alone in being targeted yesterday, with President Zelenskyy telling the U.N. Security Council Wednesday that 70 Russian missiles had targeted energy and civilian infrastructure.

President Zelenskyy of Ukraine appealed to the United Nations Security Council to take action against Russia, accusing it of committing a "crime against humanity" through its ongoing missile attacks against Ukraine's energy infrastructure. Zelenskyy urged the Council to put an end to the suffering of the Ukrainian people and hold Russia accountable for its actions.

As winter sets in, millions of civilians in Ukraine are living without power, water or heat as Russia continues its bombardment of the country's energy facilities. Ten people died yesterday as a result of the latest shelling, according to one Ukrainian official.

Zelenskyy said that Russia's formula of terror is to target a country's energy infrastructure. He added that this results in damage to hospitals, schools, transport, and residential districts.

"When we have the temperature below zero, and further millions of people stay without energy supplies, without heating, without water, this is an obvious crime against humanity," UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra'ad Al Hussein said.

Ukraine is waiting to see a strong reaction from the international community to Wednesday's air strikes. President Zelenskyy has called on the UN Security Council to take specific steps to protect human life.

The U.N. Security Council has limited power to act, as Russia is one of five permanent members and has the power to veto any action or resolution.

Russia's U.N. ambassador Vasily Nebenzya responded by claiming Russia was "conducting strikes against the infrastructure in response to the unbridled flow of weapons to Ukraine and the reckless appeals to defeat Russia."

He also claimed that the weakening of the Ukrainian army's military capacity is one of the goals of Russia's special military operation, and that it will be carried out by military means until the Kyiv regime adopts a realistic position.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has issued a second warning this week about the precarious situation at the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant in Ukraine. The plant was damaged by heavy shelling over the weekend, and on Wednesday it was forced to go into "full blackout mode" due to continued Russian missile strikes. The IAEA is urging all parties to the conflict to take measures to protect the safety of the plant and its workers.

"The recent incident at the ZNPP highlights the increasingly precarious and challenging nuclear safety and security situation at Europe's largest nuclear power plant," Director General Rafael Mariano Grossi said. "This comes just a few days after the plant was repeatedly shelled."

Grossi also underscored the need for an off-site power supply to nuclear sites as one of the seven indispensable pillars for nuclear safety during armed conflicts. The plant is currently operating as if off-site power has been lost, relying on diesel generators.

Reactors need power for cooling and other essential nuclear safety and security functions even when they are in shutdown mode and not producing electricity. In the case of an external power loss, they have emergency diesel generators that can provide back-up electricity for a limited period of time.

Earlier today, Grossi met with a Russian delegation led by Alexey Likhachev, director general of the Russian nuclear agency, Rosatom. The two consulted on operational aspects related to safety at the ZNPP, and the need to urgently establish a nuclear safety and security protection zone around the plant.

The U.S. National Security Council has said that Russia's missile strikes against civilian targets in Ukraine are not motivated by military objectives, but rather are intended to cause more suffering and death among the Ukrainian people.

"As Russia continues to struggle on the battlefield, it is increasingly resorting to horrific attacks against the Ukrainian people, including strikes that damage energy grid infrastructure. This is especially concerning as winter approaches."

Recent Russian strikes have heightened concerns about a possible nuclear incident. Shelling over the weekend damaged Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, Zaporizhzhia, and Wednesday’s strikes threw several plants into blackouts. This has caused worry among many people about the safety of these nuclear facilities.

According to Watson, Russia's decision to increase its nuclear arsenal in Ukraine not only raises the risk of a nuclear safety incident, but could also have a negative impact on the entire region.

The NSC statement follows U.S. President Joe Biden's authorization of another $400 million in defense capabilities for Ukraine. This move demonstrates the continued commitment of the United States to supporting Ukraine's sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Kyiv's critical infrastructure has been hit by rocket attacks from Russia, and Ukraine is preparing to set up winter shelters.

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