Negotiations to return the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) to Ukraine’s control are not progressing, Ukrainian Energy Minister Herman Halushchenko said Sunday.
“The situation is currently at a standstill,” the energy minister said during the Ukrainian national telethon “United News.”
The nuclear plant, which is Europe’s largest, has been under Russian control since March last year.
“Our position, which we voice on all international platforms, is that any negotiations on ZNPP should be based on: first, demilitarization of the plant, second, withdrawal of (Russian nuclear company) Rosatom employees from ZNPP. Thirdly, Ukrainian personnel should be able to operate the nuclear facility without pressure,” the minister said.
“But in response to this, we received (Russian President Vladimir) Putin's null and void decree that ZNPP is 'federal property,'" the energy minister said.
Zaporizhzhia is among the Ukrainian regions annexed by Russia in violation of international law, and as part of that seizure, Putin has declared the plant Russian property and installed workers there.
As Russia continues to occupy the plant, Halushchenko claimed Ukraine is receiving “alarming signals” from experts with the United Nations nuclear watchdog agency working at the plant. The minister accused the Russian side of “behaving extremely unprofessionally” at the nuclear site.
Last week, the head of IAEA, Rafael Grossi, expressed concern about the situation in the plant, citing delays in rotations of its team of experts in the facility, an increased security presence on-site and nearby fighting.