Only complete withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment can resolve situation at Zaporizhzhia NPP, EU says
The EU emphasizes that Russia's irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is "absolutely unacceptable"
This is stated in the EU's statement on Russia's aggression against Ukraine, adopted during the OSCE Permanent Council meeting in Vienna on March 2.
The EU noted that it is deeply concerned about the recent explosions near the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP) and Russia's continued illegal occupation and control of the facility.
"The situation can only be resolved by the complete withdrawal of Russian troops and equipment from the premises. We reiterate that Russia’s irresponsible nuclear rhetoric is absolutely unacceptable. We support the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) efforts to strengthen nuclear safety and security in Ukraine, including through the continuous presence of IAEA experts and the cessation of all combat operations in and around the ZNPP and surrounding infrastructure," the statement said.
In addition, the statement assured of "unwavering support of and solidarity with Ukraine."
"Our governments and our people made it clear: we stand with Ukraine as it exercises its inherent right to self-defence against Russia’s war of aggression, in accordance with international law, notably Article 51 of the UN Charter, and will continue doing so for as long as it takes," the EU said.
The statement also emphasized that Ukraine has the right to liberate and regain full control over all territories occupied by Russia within its internationally recognized borders, including Crimea. They added that the EU and its member states will continue to support Ukraine politically, economically, humanitarian, financially and militarily, and will also support Ukraine's reconstruction, for which they intend to use frozen Russian assets in accordance with EU and international law.
The EU has condemned Russia's attacks on residential buildings, schools, medical facilities, cultural sites, as well as on Ukraine's critical infrastructure, including its energy, heating and water supply systems. "Deliberate targeting of civilians and civilian objects constitutes a war crime. The EU is firmly committed to holding to account all commanders, perpetrators and accomplices of war crimes and other most serious crimes committed in connection with Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine," the statement said.
The EU also condemned Russia's violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied parts of Ukraine, specifically mentioning the impact of the war on Ukrainian children, including their illegal forced displacement and deportation to Russia, which is a violation of international humanitarian law, including the fourth Geneva Convention.
On February 3, in a statement delivered during a meeting of the OSCE Permanent Council in Vienna, EU representatives called on Russia to return more than 70 seized armored vehicles to the OSCE SMM and to immediately release the detained mission members.