Ukrainian power plant in Zaporizhia: Putin warns of a risk of “major disaster”

Ukrainian Central Zaporizhia: Putin warns of risk of “large-scale disaster&rdquo ;

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MOSCOW | Russian Presidents Vladimir Putin and French President Emmanuel Macron called in a telephone interview on Friday to organize “as soon as possible” an inspection of the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhia, target of bombardments. 

The two leaders “raised the importance of sending as soon as possible a mission from the International Atomic Energy Agency to the nuclear power plant, which will be able to assess the situation on the spot”, indicated the Kremlin, specifying that the interview had taken place on the initiative of Mr. Macron. 

“The Russian side has confirmed that it is ready to provide all necessary assistance to the inspectors of the Atomic Agency”, according to the same source.

The French presidency, for its part, declared that Mr. Macron had “supported the dispatch on the spot as soon as possible of a mission of experts from the IAEA, under conditions approved by Ukraine and the United Nations”.

MM. Macron and Putin must talk to each other again “in the coming days on this subject after exchanges between the technical teams and before the deployment of the mission”, according to the Elysée.

During this interview, Mr. Poutine said in further “emphasized that the systematic bombardment (…) of the territory of the Zaporizhia nuclear power plant creates a danger of large-scale disaster that could lead to radioactive contamination of large territories”, according to the Kremlin. 

For his part, Mr. Macron said “once again his concern about the risks posed by the situation at the Zaporijjia power plant for nuclear safety and security”, indicated the Elysée. 

Located in southern Ukraine and controlled by Russian forces, the Zaporizhia power plant, the largest in Europe, has been bombed several times in recent weeks, with Moscow and kyiv accusing each other of these keystrokes.

This situation raised the specter of a major disaster similar to that of Chernobyl in 1986.

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on Friday asked Moscow not to shut down the nuclear power plant from Zaporizhia of the Ukrainian network, which the kyiv authorities fear.

MM. Putin and Macron had not called each other since May 28.

Previously, the French president had telephone conversations with Mr. Putin in early May, early March and five times in February in the midst of rising tensions until the Kremlin offensive in Ukraine on February 24. He also went in person to Moscow on February 7 to meet Mr. Putin.

These multiple contacts have earned Emmanuel Macron criticism, some accusing him of having maintained regular exchanges with the head of the Kremlin without succeeding in preventing the launch of an offensive against Ukraine.

On Friday, MM. Putin and Macron also discussed an agreement signed in Istanbul last month to unblock Ukrainian grain exports

Moscow is demanding in exchange the lifting of restrictions on its exports of agricultural products and fertilizers, affected by Western sanctions targeting Russia since the launch of its offensive against Ukraine.

On Friday, Mr. Putin “highlighted the obstacles that remain in front of Russian exports, which does not contribute to a solution to problems relating to world food security”, according to the Kremlin.