by Black Sea Women in Nuclear Network (BSWN) – regional professional network for advancing women working in the nuclear sector on ongoing regional and global nuclear security and safety risks created by Russia’ military aggression against Ukraine and call for stronger regional cooperationy

The Black Sea Women in Nuclear Network has condemned Russia’s unjustified military aggression against the sovereign state of Ukraine since the beginning of the war. In our first statement the network members expressed our deepest concerns regarding the emerging nuclear safety and security risks due to Russia’s unlawful acts against Ukraine’s civilian nuclear facilities, which threaten the entire region with major radiological accident. Russia continues to violate all standards of international law and the nuclear nonproliferation regime.

In the six months of the war, Ukrainian’s civilian nuclear facilities have operated under permanent security and safety threats. On February 24 Russian military forces seized control of the Chornobyl Nuclear Power Plant and held NPP personnel hostage. On March 4, Russian troops shelled the Zaporizhzhia NPP which resulted in fires at the ZNPP site. From March 6 , the neutron source located on the site of the National Scientific Center “Kharkiv Institute of Physics and Technology” (KIPT) came under nonstop fire. On April 16, the South Ukrainian Nuclear Power Plant for the first time confirmed the violation of the airspace above the nuclear plant, recording the flight of a missile at an extremely low altitude (less than 200 meters). During the last month Russia has renewed and intensified shelling around the Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant, Europe’s largest NPP, which has been under Russian control since March.

The IAEA has appealed 

  • for maximum military restraint in the area of Ukraine’s Zaporizhzhia Nuclear Power Plant (ZNPP)
  • to conduct a mission at the nuclear power plant site to check compliance with the Seven Pillars identified by the IAEA for safe and secured operation of nuclear facilities.

We, the professional community of women and men from the Black Sea Region, express our support for Ukraine in this war and stand with Ukraine’s nuclear professionals in their battle to keep the facilities secure and safe. They are trying to protect the country’s civilian nuclear facilities from malicious acts of the Russian army.

We join the unprecedented mobilization by the international community to stop
Russian aggression against Ukraine. Unity is essential for neutralizing threats to nuclear security in Ukraine and supporting its recovery from the war.
We strongly condemn the acts of nuclear terrorism and blackmail by the Russian Federation attacking Ukraine’s civilian nuclear facilities which affects more than 163 million people in the Black Sea region. More than ever Black Sea regional cooperation is of utmost importance in countering Russia’s aggression and nuclear threat.

We call on Governments of Black Sea regional States to stand for cooperation in these hard times of ambiguity, vulnerability, and insecurity due to Russia’s
continues military aggression. Regional states need to take action to strengthen nuclear security regimes and to promote nuclear security as a norm in international platforms particularly in times of conflict, because a consequent safety incident will be indiscriminately affecting the regional states.

We call on the international community to take all necessary measures to stop the war and make Russia accountable for all the crimes committed against Ukraine.

We call on for urgent negotiations for withdrawing Russia’s military forces from the territory of Ukraine and continue protecting nuclear facilities from any sabotage and attack. As a first step, Russia should heed UN calls for the area around the power plant to be a demilitarized zone soon.

We stand ready to lend our expertise, time, and support to ensure a safe, peaceful, and independent nuclear sector in Ukraine.

Black Sea Women in Nuclear Network