G7 wants Russia to give control of nuclear plants back to Kiev

Foreign ministers of the Group of Seven (G7) nations demanded that Russia immediately return complete control of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear plant to Ukraine after Ukraine accused Russia on Wednesday of using its position in a nuclear power plant it had seized to target a nearby town with rocket attacks that killed at least thirteen people.

In the meantime, China has referred to the United States as the “primary initiator” of the Ukraine issue.

The village of Marhanets, which Ukraine claims was attacked, is the same one that, according to Russia, Ukrainian forces used in the past to shell the Russian troops encamped at the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, which they seized in March. However, neither Russia nor Reuters could independently confirm the Ukrainian claims of a rocket attack on Marh­anets.

In a statement released in Germany, the foreign ministers of the G7 nations voiced their support for Ukraine’s claim. They demanded that Russia “immediately return full control of the Zaporiz­hzhia nuclear power plant and all nuclear facilities within Ukraine’s internationally recognized borders to their rightful sovereign owner, Ukraine, to ensure their safe and secure operations.”

Rafael Grossi, the chairman of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), has encouraged both parties to exercise moderation, citing the “genuine possibility of a nuclear tragedy.”

Moscow asserts that it does not intentionally target people in its so-called “special military operation” in Ukraine, which aims to prevent the spread of the NATO military alliance and protect Russia’s security.

80 rockets fired

Andriy Yermak, the chief of staff for President Volodymyr Zelensky, accused Russia of unleashing indiscriminate strikes on Ukrainian communities from the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power station, knowing it would be risky for Ukraine to respond. “Eighty reactive rockets shot at residential buildings,” stated Yermak on the Telegram chat channel about the attack on Marhanets.

Ukraine, which accuses Russia of waging an unprovoked imperial-style war of aggression, asserts that approximately 500 Russian troops equipped with heavy vehicles and weaponry are stationed at the factory, where Ukrainian tech­ni­cians continue to operate.

Russia asserts that its forces are acting correctly and making every effort to safeguard the facility’s safety. However, Moscow has accused Ukrainian troops of bombarding the facility, a claim that Kyiv disputes.

Valentyn Reznychenko, the governor of Ukraine’s central Dnipropetrovsk region, stated that 80 Grad missiles were used in the attack on the town of Marhanets, which is located across the Dnipro River from the power plant. As a result, more than 20 structures in the city were damaged.

He noted that several thousand individuals were left without electricity due to the same incident. In addition, he said that a dormitory, two schools, a concert hall, the main council building, and other administrative structures had been damaged.

Attack on a Crimean airbase

Also, the cause of a series of explosions at a Russian air base in Russian-annexed Crimea a day earlier remained controversial, with Moscow claiming that ammunition storage had exploded and Ukrainian officials implying that Kyiv may be to blame.

Two US media reported anonymous Ukrainian sources reporting that Ukrainian special forces attacked the air base and destroyed Russian military aircraft.

In his late-Tuesday daily video address, Zelenskiy did not directly mention the explosions, but he did say that the focus on Crimea was warranted. “We will never give it up… the Black Sea region cannot be secure as long as Crimea is occupied,” he declared, reiterating the view of his administration that Crimea must be returned to Ukraine one day.

“Primary instigator”

In the meantime, China, which Russia has sought as an ally since its invasion of Ukraine, has referred to the United States as the “primary initiator” of the situation.

In an interview with the Russian state news agency, TASS, published on Wednes­day, China’s ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Han­hui, accused Washington of backing Russia into a corner through repeated expansions of the NATO defense alliance and support for forces seeking to align Ukraine with the European Union instead of Moscow.

Zhang stated, “As the creator and primary instigator of the Ukrainian issue, Washington continues to provide armaments and military equipment to Ukraine while placing unprecedented, sweeping sanctions on Russia.”