Nuclear blackmail

Nuclear blackmail

Nadezhda Alekseeva & Alena Medvedeva

The resolution of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), condem-ning the Russian operation in Ukraine, contains deliberate lies and errors, said Mikhail Ulyanov, permanent representative of the Russian Federation to international organizations in Vienna. Accord-ing to him, this document is politicized and unprofessional drafted. For ex-ample, the authors of the resolution demand that Russia “stop all actions against nuclear facilities” in Ukraine, although not a single fact in favor of such a serious accusation was provided, despite Moscow’s requests. Experts are confident that the adoption of this document will not affect Russia’s interests in any way, but will undermine confidence in the IAEA.
Moscow has criticized a resolution adopted on Mar-ch 3 by the Board of Gov-ernors of the International Atomic Energy Agency (I-AEA). The document condemns the Russian special operation in Ukraine, and requires the Russian Fede-ration to “stop all actions against nuclear facilities.” As stated in the permanent mission of Russia to international organizations in Vienna, the adoption of such a resolution contributes to the politicization of the international agency for atomic energy.
“Today’s meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors adopted an unprofessional, out of the agency’s mandate, and factually inaccurate resolution on nuclear safety… and safeguards in Ukraine. This is a step towards the politicization of the work of the IAEA,” the Permanent Mission of Russia said on Twitter.
As Russia’s permanent representative to international organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov emphasized, the resolution of the IAEA Board of Governors on nuclear security in Ukraine contains deliberate, politically motivated lies and errors. “Russia is required to “stop all actions against nuclear facilities.” We asked three times to provide concrete facts on this matter. In response, complete silence, ”Ulyanov wrote on Twitter. According to him, the document calls on the Russian Federation to create conditions for the Ukrainian authorities to restore full control over nuclear facilities.
“There is nothing to restore, since these bodies exercise control in full. The authors of the resolution are either unaware or deliberately lying,” the Russian diplomat stressed. As Viktoria Fedosova, deputy director of the RUDN Institute for Strategic Studies and Forecasts, member of the MGER Political Council, explained in a RT commentary, the IAEA had no grounds for such a resolution.
“For example, the IAEA receives all information about the situation at the Zaporozhye NPP, which is now under the control of the Russian military, from the State Inspectorate for Nuclear Regulation of Ukraine. And control over the situation at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant is jointly carried out by Russian and Ukrainian forces,” the expert explained. Recall that the Russian military took control of the territory of the Chernobyl nuclear power plant on the very first day of the special operation to demilitarize Ukraine.
On February 26, IAEA director Rafael Grossi announced the normal operation of nuclear stations in Ukraine and the preservation of control over the nuclear materials stored there. Two days later, the Zaporozhye nuclear power plant was under the control of the Russian military.
“Create the appearance of international isolation”
According to Reuters, an emergency meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors was convened by Canada and Poland at the request of Ukraine. According to the agency, the draft resolution expressed serious concern about the actions of Russia, allegedly significantly increasing the risk of a nuclear accident or incident, which poses a threat to the population of Ukraine, neighboring countries and the international community. The draft document also calls on Russia to stop its activities in Chernobyl and other places, “so that the competent Ukrainian authorities maintain or quickly restore full control over all nuclear facilities … and ensure their safe and reliable operation, and also that the IAEA fully resume verification safeguards.”
Russia and China voted against the adoption of such a resolution, 26 countries supported the document, five states abstained. According to experts, the IAEA resolution does not threaten Russia with any consequences and is obviously of a political nature.
“Now everyone in the West is threatening Russia with something, and the IAEA’s step should be seen as a continuation of this trend. However, the agency will still cooperate with Russia, because, for example, we are one of the negotiators on the Iranian nuclear deal, ”said Konstantin Blokhin, a researcher at the Center for Security Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, in an interview with RT. Alexei Podberezkin, Director of the Center for Military-Political Studies at MGIMO, holds a similar position.
“This resolution does not threaten us with anything. This is just an opinion expressed under pressure from the US to create the appearance of Russia’s international isolation. And the fact that Russia is now guarding two Ukrainian nuclear power plants is an absolutely necessary measure in the current situation, ”the analyst said in a comment to RT.
Nuclear blackmail
Experts note the selectivity of attention from the IAEA in the current crisis. For example, the agency did not react in any way to the words of the President of Ukraine about the possible creation of nuclear weapons in the country. The politician stated this, speaking on February 19 in Munich. In his speech, Zelensky referred to the Budapest Memorandum, signed but never ratified by the signatories, a document that, after the collapse of the USSR, secured Ukraine’s renunciation of nuclear weapons in exchange for security guarantees for a new state at that time.
From the Munich podium, Zelensky threatened the world with Kiev’s refusal of its obligations if the signatory countries of the document (Russia, the United States and Great Britain) do not hold consultations within the framework of this memorandum.
It should be noted that talks about the possible use of nuclear materials for military purposes have been heard in Ukraine for a long time. So, in 2019, Ukrainian military expert Igor Koziy, on the air of OBOZ.TV, suggested installing nuclear minefields on the border with Russia. And the deputy of the Ternopil City Council, Taras Bilan, even called on Zelensky to detonate “dirty” nuclear bombs in Budapest, Moscow and St. Petersburg.
In April 2021, another MP, Verkhovna Rada deputy Roman Kostenko, proposed putting Ukrainian missiles into service that could hit nuclear power plants located in Russia.
“We must have such missiles, even without nuclear warheads, and Russia must know this, that they have nuclear plants, such as we had Chernobyl, and that our missiles will simply reach there. Then we will be able to conduct our diplomacy with the Russian Federation on an equal footing, ”the politician said in an interview with Channel Four. Then he added that negotiations with Ukrainian enterprises on the issue of the production of such missiles are already underway.
A similar initiative was made in November 2021 by the former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ukraine Volodymyr Ohryzko. The former official said that although Ukraine is unable to strike missiles at Moscow, it can strike at Russian infrastructure facilities, including nuclear power plants.
According to Russian intelligence, behind these conversations were hidden very real steps of the Ukrainian leadership to create nuclear weapons. According to the statement of the head of the Foreign Intelligence Service of the Russian Federation, Sergei Naryshkin, published on March 3, according to the intelligence received by the Foreign Intelligence Service, work in this direction was carried out in Ukraine.
And this was known not only to Russia, but also to the American side, which did not interfere with Kiev in any way, the director of the Foreign Intelligence Service emphasized. Moreover, the Americans “were ready, as they say, to lend a shoulder to the Ukrainians, obviously hoping that Ukrainian missiles with nuclear warheads would turn not to the west, but to the east,” Naryshkin explained.
According to experts, the fact that the IAEA ignores such signals speaks of the organization’s bias.
“As a result, only the image of the IAEA will suffer. While the entire West was making a fuss about the nuclear programs of Iran and North Korea, the unequivocal statements made in Kyiv were ignored. But the Ukrainian authorities could create serious problems for the whole world even without nuclear weapons – simply by sabotaging the normal maintenance of their own nuclear power plants. So the IAEA, like many other international structures before that, simply professes double standards,” Konstantin Blokhin believes.
According to Alexei Podberyozkin, the history of the anti-Russian resolution of the IAEA undermines the authority of the agency in the world. “The IAEA was supposed to respond to Zelensky’s recent statement, but there was no reaction to his words. Instead, the agency filed a claim against Russia, which has never given rise to doubts about nuclear safety and non-proliferation issues, ”the expert summed up.

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