Russian officers controlling the area will not give access to Ukrainian personnel running the plant or to monitors from the UN atomic energy watchdog that would allow them to see what the Russians are up to, Energoatom said in a statement on Tuesday.
Energoatom said it “assumes” that the Russians are “preparing an act of terrorism using nuclear materials and radioactive waste stored in” the factory. It said there were 174 containers in the plant’s dry spent fuel storage facility, each containing 24 assemblies of spent fuel.
“Destruction of these containers as a result of an explosion will lead to a radiation accident and radiation contamination of several hundred square kilometers (miles) of the adjacent area,” the company said.
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has responded by accusing Russia of planning such an attack itself to blame Ukraine. Western countries also rejected Russia’s claim as a pretext to intensify the eight-month-long war.
Tuesday’s Security Council meeting was the first of three likely meetings requested by Russia this week.
“It’s a complete waste of our time and it’s misinformation and it should stop,” Kariuki said.
Russia has asked the council to be informed on Wednesday about the mandate of UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres under a 2015 resolution laying down the nuclear deal with Iran. The move comes after Ukraine and Western allies accused Russia of using Iran-made drones in Ukraine in violation of the resolution and asked Guterres to investigate.
The council will also meet on Thursday to discuss Russian allegations that there are “military biological programs” in Ukraine. The United States and Western allies have criticized Russia for spreading propaganda, disinformation and “nonsense” when it previously raised the issue in the Security Council.
The White House again underlined on Monday that the Russian allegations were false.
“It’s just not true. We know it’s not true,” said John Kirby, a spokesman for the National Security Council. “In the past, the Russians sometimes blamed others for things they intended to do.”
US President Joe Biden said on Tuesday that Russia would make a serious mistake if it used a nuclear weapon.
Russia has circulated a draft resolution to councilors to set up a committee — composed of all 15 councilors — “to investigate the claims against the US and Ukraine in the Russian Federation’s complaint.”
It was not immediately clear whether or when Russia would put it to a vote. A resolution needs nine votes and no vetoes from Russia, China, the United States, France or Britain to pass.
The Security Council has met dozens of times over Ukraine since Moscow invaded its neighbor on February 24, but is unable to take meaningful action as Russia protects itself with its veto.
However, Russia is diplomatically isolated. Earlier this month, three quarters of the 193-member General Assembly – 143 countries – voted to condemn Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine and called on all countries not to recognize the move.