Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron on Friday August 19 and warned that the bombing of the Russian-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant in southern Ukraine could eventually lead to a full-scale disaster. .
For the uninitiated, the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is located near the Crimean peninsula annexed by Russia. It has six of Ukraine’s 15 reactors and is capable of supplying electricity to four million homes.
The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant is Europe’s largest nuclear power plant, which was captured by Russia in March but is still run by Ukrainian technicians.
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Amid rising tensions, the two sides – Russia and Ukraine – have accused each other of preparing “provocations” at the facility.
During his phone conversation with Macron, the Kremlin released a reading of the appeal. The statement read: “Vladimir Putin, in particular, pointed out that the systematic bombardment of the territory of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant by the Ukrainian army creates the danger of a large-scale disaster that could lead to radioactive contamination of large territories .”
Ongoing conflicts have reignited fears that the invasion could damage nuclear reactors. It could trigger another emergency like the Chernobyl accident in 1986, the world’s worst nuclear disaster. Experts claimed that if the nuclear power plant exploded, it would be 10 times larger than Chernobyl.
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Putin and Macron have called for independent inspections of the nuclear power plant occupied by Moscow. The Kremlin statement added that the two leaders called on experts from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to inspect the plant “as soon as possible” and “evaluate the real situation on the ground”.
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”.
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