U.N. chief says electricity at Russian-held nuclear plant belongs to Ukraine
Antonio Guterres, secretary-general of the United Nations, stated on Friday that the electricity produced at the Russian-controlled nuclear power facility in the Zaporizhzhia region of southern Ukraine belonged to Ukraine and requested that this principle be fully upheld.
Earlier on Friday, Ukraine said that Russia was preparing a "large-scale provocation" at the massive nuclear plant and claimed that Russian personnel intended to cut the facility off from the Ukrainian electricity grid and connect it to the Russian one.
Russia took the largest nuclear power station in Europe in March, but it is still run by Ukrainian specialists. Moscow and Kyiv have both accused the other of attacking the facility. Of the facility's six reactors, only two are operational.
Guterres, asked about Russian plans to divert power to the Russian power grid, told reporters in the Black Sea port of Odesa that the plant should be demilitarised, a move that he said would resolve the problem.
“Obviously the electricity from Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity and it’s necessary especially during the winter for the Ukrainian people. And this principle must be fully respected,” he said.
Ukraine is bracing for its most difficult winter in more than 30 years of independence and preparing for a possible energy shortage that would be exacerbated by the nuclear plant being disconnected.
International aid officials have voiced concern that such a move by Russia could trigger more hardship in the eastern part of Ukraine, particularly, and prompt more people to flee abroad.
Russia has itself accused Ukraine of plotting a “provocation” at the sprawling nuclear plant.