Ukrainian delegates to the Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) on the settlement of the situation in Donbas say the Russian Federation makes it impossible for International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors to enter the occupied districts of eastern Ukraine to assess the environmental status.

The Ukrainian delegation to the TCG made this statement in a Facebook post on February 17, adding that a new meeting was held at the level of the chairmen of the delegations via videoconference.

Read alsoU.S. State Dept: Russian proxies' plans to flood coal mine in Donbas, site of nuclear test, could threaten drinking water

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The Ukrainian representatives emphasize that efforts to agree on sending IAEA inspectors to the temporarily occupied territories in Donetsk and Luhansk have not yet yielded results, since the Russian side makes it impossible for the TCG to pass a decision on this issue.

"Boris Gryzlov (representative of the Russian Federation) could not answer a direct question from the chairman of the Ukrainian delegation about the admission of the IAEA's inspection to the occupied territories," it said.

The Ukrainian side reiterated its concern over the fact that the issue of IAEA inspectors' access to the temporarily occupied territories had not yet been resolved. The organization's senior officials sent a corresponding request in December 2020.

It also says that Ukraine reserves the right to appeal to the international community, governments and organizations to increase pressure on Russia to ensure the conduct of the said inspection so that Ukraine could be able to fulfill its obligations under the Agreement between Ukraine and the IAEA for the Application of Safeguards in Connection with The Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and the Protocol additional to this Agreement.

Environmental disaster in Donbas

  • Ukraine asks the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to send specialists to the occupied territory of Donbas to assess the environmental situation.
  • Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories Oleksiy Reznikov warns against an environmental disaster in the Russia-occupied part of Donbas in a few months. "In 1979, the Soviet government handled a nuclear explosion with 0.3 kilotonnes of TNT inside the Yunkom coal mine, which is now part of the area occupied by Russia. After the explosion, the radioactive capsule was maintained dry by pumping water out of the coal mine to prevent radioactive elements from getting onto the surface and into the groundwater," Reznikov said.
  • He says it is known that the Russia-controlled occupying authorities in Donbas stopped pumping water out of the mine two years ago, and now radioactive water enters the soil layers where drinking water is. They also shut down dozens of other mines where water pumping was suspended.