June 9, 2015 / 4:09 PM / in 3 years

U.N. nuclear agency backs report despite Russian protest over Crimea

VIENNA (Reuters) - The annual report of the U.N. nuclear watchdog has been approved by its board of governors despite Russia’s protests against it listing a nuclear site near Crimea’s Sevastopol as being in Ukraine, according to a document seen by Reuters.

Russia, which annexed Crimea last year, wanted the site linked to Russia, rather than Ukraine, in the International Atomic Agency’s report, triggering opposition to such a move from other countries.

The agency first got caught in the diplomatic crossfire over Crimea last year when Russia insisted its agreements with the Vienna-based IAEA also cover the annexed Black Sea peninsula. Most countries still consider Crimea part of Ukraine.

“One delegation proposed changes to the Annexes of the report. The proposed changes did not meet the agreement of other delegations,” read a document, dated June 8, containing concluding remarks of the meeting’s Chair, seen by Reuters.

“It will not be possible to reflect divided views,” the document continued, adding that the board would approve the annual report “on the understanding that the draft be revised to reflect as far as possible such observations made on it.”

Grigory Berdennikov, the head of the Russian delegation at the IAEA, said the annex in question did “not correspond with reality”.

“We officially informed the IAEA secretariat that these units in Crimea are under Russian jurisdiction and offered the agency to apply guarantees according to our (Russian) agreement,” he said, according to a speech published by Russia’s foreign ministry.

“The Russian Federation cannot agree to any point of the annual report,” he added, saying it contradicted “objective reality” and, from Moscow’s point of view, was “legally and politically insignificant”.

A Western diplomat present at the meeting said one option to resolve the situation could be to add another annex to the report, stating Russia’s objections without having to change the actual report.

Reporting By Shadia Nasralla; Additional reporting by Katya Golubkova in Moscow; Editing by Robin Pomeroy

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