Amid growing geopolitical tensions and rekindled fears of nuclear war, Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron called for independent inspections at the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant on Friday (August 19) during a a phonecall.
The Kremlin said in a statement that Putin “stressed that the Ukrainian army’s systematic shelling of the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant creates the danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to radioactive contamination of large territories.”
The statement released by the Kremlin further indicates that the two leaders called on experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the plant “as soon as possible” and “to assess the real situation on the ground”. .
READ ALSO | UN chief Antonio Guterres calls for Russian-occupied nuclear power plant not to be cut off from Ukrainian grid
The statement added: “The Russian side has confirmed that it is ready to provide the Agency’s inspectors with the necessary assistance.”
Meanwhile, the Elysée, in a separate statement, said Macron was concerned about the security risks of the nuclear power plant and said he “supported the dispatch of an expert mission from the IAEA on the site under conditions agreed by Ukraine and the United Nations”.
Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Macron has had quite a few phone conversations with Putin. He has also been criticized for maintaining diplomatic talks with the Russian president despite his decision to invade Ukraine.
In the recent statement released on Friday, a French presidential official told reporters during a press briefing that Macron’s phone call to his Putin was justified given the serious security risk affecting the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant. in Ukraine, which is the subject of fighting. activity.
READ ALSO | Russia threatens to close the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant and anticipates a “planned” disaster
UN chief Antonio Guterres called on Friday (August 19) for the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant not to be cut off from the Ukrainian grid.
During his crucial visit to the port of Odessa in southern Ukraine, the UN Secretary General said: “Obviously the electricity of Zaporizhzhia is Ukrainian electricity… This principle must be fully respected.
During the same call, Putin also told Macron that Russia faced obstacles in exporting its food products and fertilizers. “There are still obstacles to the mentioned Russian exports that do not contribute to the solution of problems related to global food security,” the Kremlin said.
The remark comes after last month in Istanbul, Russia and Ukraine signed historic agreements with Turkey and the United Nations that opened secure corridors for grain exports leaving Ukraine’s Black Sea ports.
A similar agreement signed at the same time allowed Russia to export its agricultural products and fertilizers despite Western sanctions against Moscow’s military intervention in Ukraine.
(With agency contributions)
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