UN Security Council: Switzerland advocates for the protection of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant

Press releases, 30.05.2023

Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis chaired a meeting on the protection of Ukraine's Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant at the UN Security Council on 30 May 2023. Rafael Grossi, Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), presented five principles to the Council to guarantee protection of the nuclear power plant. This protection has been threatened several times since the beginning of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine. Switzerland supports the IAEA's efforts and calls on the parties to recognise and implement the five principles.

Chaired by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis, the UN Security Council today discussed the protection of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in the presence of Ukraine. "We are all aware of the risks to the civilian population when a nuclear power plant is located in a war zone. It is our duty to protect the civilian population," Federal Councillor Cassis said in New York. At the briefing, IAEA Director General Grossi presented five principles to the Council for the protection of the nuclear power plant in south-eastern Ukraine:

1.    no attacks of any kind from or against the nuclear power plant;
2.    no storage or stationing of heavy weapons or troops at the plant;
3.    no threat to the external power supply;
4.    protection of all systems necessary for safe operation against attacks or acts of sabotage;
5.    no actions that undermine these principles.

During the meeting, Switzerland reiterated its condemnation of Russia's military aggression against Ukraine and any attacks against civilian infrastructure. Switzerland again called on Russia to withdraw its troops from Ukrainian territory. It welcomed the IAEA's commitment to protecting civilian nuclear facilities in Ukraine and called on all Council members to support the five principles proposed by the IAEA for protecting the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant. Federal Councillor Cassis called on Russia and Ukraine in particular to fully implement these five principles.

In consultation with the IAEA and the other Council members, Swiss diplomacy has been working in recent weeks to ensure that the meeting takes place. Switzerland recalled that the protection of the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant is a matter of respect for international humanitarian law. Respecting and promoting this law is a priority for Switzerland and a pillar of its Good Offices.

"We are committed to protecting civilian populations: it is with this commitment that we have taken the Presidency of this Council", stressed Ignazio Cassis.

Today's meeting is thematically linked to the Federal Council's priorities for Switzerland's seat on the Security Council. During the presidential month of May, several meetings were chaired by members of the Federal Council. On 3 and 4 May, Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis chaired an open debate focusing on mutual trust and a meeting on the cooperation between the UN and the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). On 23 May, President Alain Berset emphasised in the Council that the protection of civilians in armed conflict must not only exist on paper, but also be increasingly implemented in practice. For her part, Federal Councillor Viola Amherd chaired a session on the financing of peace missions in Africa on 25 May. Today's session will focus on the protection of civilians from nuclear disasters. With these and other geographical and thematic meetings, the Federal Council is on track in implementing its priorities. Overall, Switzerland draws a positive conclusion from this first Council Presidency.


Nicolas Bideau, Head of FDFA Communications
+41 79 667 69 15

Further information:

Five principles for ensuring nuclear safety at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant, IAEA (IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi)
Address by Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis
Switzerland's presidency of the UN Security Council
What does Switzerland do in the UN Security Council?
News ticker: Switzerland's commitment for Ukraine
Newsletter: Sign up for weekly updates from the UN Security Council

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