STATEMENT BY HE. Mr. FERIT HOXHA Ambassador and Permanent Representative of ALBANIA to the UN
Security Council Emergency UNSC Meeting Ukraine – Nuclear Safety
New York, 4 March 2022
Thank you, Mme. President,
I thank USG DiCarlo and we are happy we could listen to DG Grossi.
Ten days into the so called “special operation” – in reality the operation “how to invade your neighbor” – and we are in the midst of a large-scale human tragedy running towards an overall catastrophe, for Ukraine first, but for Russia as well, and as we see, every day, with serious implications for the wider Europe.
Thousands have been killed, with at least 2000 civilians. According to UN reports, some 12 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance, 1 million have fled the country, the fastest and largest mass exoduses of people in conflict situations in decades.
All developments of this major geopolitical crisis, artificially created by Russia’s unprovoked and unjustified aggression against Ukraine, indicate, unmistakably, that it is headed towards further escalation.
A overwhelming vote in the UNGA two days ago told Russia that it could not take the world hostage. Unfortunately, this loud call by the World, asking Russia to stop its aggression, is not heard in Moscow and Russia remains defiant, and is stubbornly descending into abyss.
The world was alarmed late last night after news of the fire at Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station caused by Russian shelling. A huge blaze at the site of Europe’s biggest nuclear power station was, thankfully, quickly extinguished.
Yet, we remain gravely concerned and it is alarming that Russian forces have captured Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. Russia’s grip on a plant that provides more than a fifth of Ukraine’s electricity is a serious cause of concern and could have huge repercussion on civilians and Ukraine’s economy.
Fighting at the plant or any other disturbance could cause a potential nuclear disaster, radioactive damage and have irreparable consequences for Europe’s environment. It is difficult not have in mind the dreadful images of Chernobyl.
We welcome the quick reaction from IAEA, putting its Incident and Emergency Centre in full 24/7 response due to gravity of the situation.
They should be given urgent unhindered access to verify and monitor the conditions and ensure safeguards are in place, as the situation “remains very challenging”.
Russian occupiers must immediately allow unfettered access for emergency services to the plant.
We urge the IAEA to continue working closely with Ukraine with a view to providing maximum possible assistance to the country as it seeks to maintain nuclear safety and security in the current difficult circumstances.
It is important that the nuclear power plant continues to be operated by its regular staff. We are very concerned about the reports from the operator that the situation remains very challenging.
We call on Russia to end its aggression, withdraw its troops out of Ukraine, to halt use of force near any nuclear power plant and any civilian infrastructure in general and respect article 56 of the additional protocol of the Geneva Convention.
Attacking civilians and civilian infrastructure constitutes a crime and perpetrators must and will be held accountable.
We welcome the establishment by the UN Human Rights Council of an International Commission of Inquiry to investigate war crimes committed in the aggression against Ukraine. Evidence must be gathered, documented, and presented to courts.
We support the ICC Prosecutor to investigate and document crimes committed for the purpose of accountability.
“The UN was not created to take mankind to heaven, but to save humanity from hell”, Dag Hammarskjold famously said.
It falls upon this Council to do what is can and what is needed to save Ukraine, its people, and entire Europe from the hell where Russia is heading to with its relentless aggression.