Peace activists visit Zaporizhzhya

IssueOctober - November 2023
News by PN staff

As regular readers will know, over 40 international peace activists have volunteered to act as an unarmed civilian protection team at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant in Ukraine, supporting inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (PN 2663, 2664, 2665). The Russian occupation forces have not given permission for them to enter the site – yet.

In late September, a team of four volunteers from the Zaporizhzhya Protection Project travelled to visit communities near the power plant, in territory controlled by the Ukrainian government.

After hearing from Ukrainians in Russian-held territory that contact with persons from NATO-aligned countries would be dangerous for them, the Project recruited volunteers from countries less hostile to Russia and met with Russian officials in Washington DC.

Unfortunately, they were still not able to gain permission to contact people in Russian-controlled territory near the plant.

According to John Reuwer, founder of the Zaporizhzhya Protection Project: ‘Among the most immediate of the many threats faced by Ukrainians is the release of a nuclear dirty bomb by an intentional or accidental mishap at the Zaporizhzhya nuclear power plant.’

Reuwer wrote in September: ‘We fully respect the right of Ukrainians to defend themselves as they see fit, even while we are here to see if any of our ideas about nonviolent means makes sense in this horrible situation.

If we are to suggest alternatives to war, our integrity requires that we be with the people in danger. Ukrainians in the region invited us to meet with them last April; this trip is a continuation of our discussions.’