In conversation with Macron, Putin defends Zaporizhzhia shutdown and blames Ukrainians

Russian President Vladimir Putin explained to French President Emmanuel Macron on Sunday the shutdown of the last reactor still in operation at the Ukrainian nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia, denouncing the “constant attacks by Ukraine” against Ukraine. installation. The leaders of the two countries held a telephone conversation initiated by Paris, in which “a detailed and frank exchange of views took place on the situation in Ukraine and especially on issues related to the safety of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant,” the Kremlin said.

“The Russian side drew attention to the regular Ukrainian attacks on the facilities of the Zaporizhzhia nuclear power plant, including the storage of radioactive waste, which could lead to catastrophic consequences,” according to the Russian presidency. Putin informed Macron “about the measures taken by Russian experts to ensure the physical protection of the station” and stressed the need to “influence the Kiev authorities to immediately stop the bombing”. “The readiness of both parties to maintain a non-politicized interaction in relation to the nuclear plant with the involvement of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) was expressed,” added the Kremlin.

The Russian Army it has occupied the Zaporizhzhia plant since March 4, with six reactors and around 10 1,000 employees, and Ukraine and Russia have been accusing each other of attacks around the facilities for months. Russian authorities controlling the plant shut down the last still functioning reactor at the power plant on Sunday, citing a bombing of the facility. The director general of Aiea, Rafael Grossi, warned on Friday of the possibility of an accident after a bombing that cut the electrical connection outside the plant, the largest in Europe.

Putin took advantage of the occasion to denounce the alleged use by the Ukrainian army of weapons delivered by the West to “bomb civilian infrastructure in Donbas cities, which is why civilians are suffering”.

Macron says to Putin that the plant is only at risk because of the Russian occupation

Macron, on the other hand, urged Putin on the need to guarantee the safety of the plant and recalled that “the cause of the risks” that affect the installation is “the Russian occupation”, announced the Elysée Palace. The French president asked that Russia withdraw its heavy and light weapons and that the IAEA recommendations be followed to ensure the security of the region.

Macron will remain in contact in the coming days with the Ukrainian president, Volodymyr Zelensky, with Grossi of IAEA, and with Putin himself to try to reach an agreement on Zaporizhzhia.

Leaders also discussed global food security and agreed that cereals exported from sea ports Negro should be sent to developing countries. The Russian president insisted that the European Commission should not place obstacles in the way of exporting Russian agricultural products and fertilizers to markets in Africa, the Middle East and Latin America.

Macron told Putin that European sanctions against Russia for its invasion of Ukraine “does not apply to agricultural products or those necessary for agriculture”, and reminded the international community, including Russia, of their responsibility to ensure that “the most exposed countries receive the products they need”.

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