Putin and Macron demand IAEA inspection of Ukrainian nuclear power plant


Russian President Vladimir Putin and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron have called for independent inspections of the Moscow-occupied Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, the Kremlin said in a statement on Friday.

Putin “stressed that the systematic shelling by the Ukrainian army 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.”

According to the Kremlin, the two leaders asked 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”.

“The Russian side has confirmed that it is ready to provide the Agency’s inspectors with the necessary assistance,” the statement said.

In a separate statement, the French presidency said that Macron “supported the dispatch of an IAEA expert mission to the site under conditions agreed by Ukraine and the United Nations”.

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

The Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant was seized by Russian troops in March and recent fighting around it has raised the specter of a Chernobyl-like nuclear incident.

Kyiv and Moscow have accused each other this week of preparing “provocations” in the establishment.

The plant – the largest in Europe – has been the target of several strikes in recent days, raising fears of a nuclear disaster. Kyiv and Moscow have traded blame for the bombings.

During the same call – their first in nearly three months – Putin told Macron that Russia faced obstacles in exporting its food 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.

Last month in Istanbul, Russia and Ukraine signed historic agreements with Turkey and the United Nations that opened secure corridors for grain exports to leave 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.


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